San Diego is a lovely city. It’s got a beautiful skyline, approachable suburbs, pristine beaches, museums, gardens, a backcountry full of recreational opportunities, professional sports teams that occasionally win games – but I don’t get it. I just don’t understand San Diego.
First of all, San Diegans (yes, I’m generalizing you) always seem to operate in the 50% – 80% happy range. I’ve never met a San Diegan that’s been pissed off or depressed, and likewise I’ve never met one that’s been manically thrilled. It’s always on the mellow side of good for the people of San Diego. Maybe it’s a reflection of the fantastically non-variable weather… I don’t know. The psyche fools me.
How do you do it, San Diegans? How do you have better control over your emotions than your San Franciscan or Angeleno brethren? Where is your racially charged and indignant gangsta rap? Where is your naked and cussing homeless guy? Where are your parades, riots, and rallies that identify you as a major US city? You’re the second largest in California – the eighth in the USA – how do you hide this so well?
Somehow it seems like San Diego stands apart from the rest of California, alone on its imagined island of paradise. I suppose it’s the nature of dichotomy – places are often seen as a contrast of two unequal yet rival parts.
Spain = Madrid v. Barcelona
France = Paris v. Marsailles
Russia = Moscow v. Saint Petersburg
Poland = Warsaw v. Krakow
USA = New York v. Los Angeles
…and so on and so forth. And California?
Los Angeles v. San Francisco
Los Angeles represents Southern California and San Francisco represents Northern California. And somehow, San Diego becomes a Californian afterthought, as if its identity as a city carries more weight than its identity within the state. San Diego could declare its independence, and the image of the state of California would still be preserved. Although no one would fight in the San Diegan War of Independence because the soldiers would get to the battlefront and everyone would start playing beach volleyball. “78 degrees and partly cloudy? To hell with warfare! Let’s surf.”
But what is the San Diego aura? What is its mystique? You can go to New York, close your eyes, and feel the energy of Manhattan around you. You can go to San Francisco and bundle up in the fog at the Presidio thinking of Jack London novels. You can go to Los Angeles and feel the bullet pass through your abdomen as you walk by USC’s campus. But what do you make us feel, San Diego? Other than pretty good?
And one last thing –
|Where the person is from…||Where they will say they are from…||Distance in between…|
|Oceanside||San Diego||38 miles|
|Escondido||San Diego||30 miles, through a mountain range|
|Valley Center||San Diego||40 miles, through a mountain range|
|Poway||San Diego||22 miles, through a mountain range|
|El Cajon||San Diego||16 miles|
|Coronado||San Diego||4 miles, across a body of water|
|Chula Vista||San Diego||10 miles|
You baffle me, San Diego. You’re too pleasant.