Monday, August 29, 2011

First Time Visit Back to San Diego

Mrs Elliott and I moved from San Diego in 2008. Until this weekend, I had not re-visited the place. But I had to fly down on Friday to take care of some business, and I just got back last night.

Guy at the rental car place wanted to know if I wanted to upgrade from the base model. "I drive a 1984 VW van," I told him. "This is an upgrade."

I was curious to see if my feelings about the SoCal had changed.

What I learned is that, no, nothing has changed. The charms of San Diego, and SoCal in general, escape me. I don't find it in any way attractive. Sure, the ocean is pretty, but there's only a super-thin sliver of coastline compared with the hundreds and hundreds of square miles of traffic and buildings inland. The rest is sere hills, endless encrustations of crappy-looking stucco houses, billboards, and strip malls (Oh my god the strip malls are everywhere!). The driving style is binary: on and off: they are either flooring the gas when the light turns green, or jamming on the brakes for a red. And crowded. So many people, so much pollution. Sales tax, pump your own gas, glary moisture-laden skies.

When the day came in 2008 to to move up here, I could hardly wait, and hit the road feeling like I had finally escaped from a long, long nightmare. I felt exactly the same way yesterday when I got onto the plane.

When I deplaned, I smelled the perfume of the junipers and felt the crispness of the air. And Mrs Elliott was up, waiting for me. It was good.

I don't get SoCal's attraction. It has many fans, and I'm happy that they are happy to live there. But I could not find a single thing I missed.

7 comments:

  1. The air here hasn't exactly been "crisp" lately. When we arrived home from SF there was so much smoke in the air I thought I'd gone the wrong way on I5 and ended up in LA.

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  2. I wish Miller would get SoCal's attraction.

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  3. Hey, compared with the sea-level miasma they call air down there, the air at RDM last night was as crisp as a Granny Smith apple.

    By the same measure, San Diego's air is crisp when compared with air in the South.

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  4. Hey Miller -- I think anonymous (if that really is his name) is inviting you to move?

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  5. I need no invitations to move. But SoCal has NO attraction whatsoever for me -- at least not the urbanized parts of it. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much all of it.

    Re atmospheric crispness: I think you're talking about temperature and I'm talking about clarity. And it's true the smoke subsides at night. Today is much less smoky than yesterday -- not sure why.

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  6. Oh well, yeah, clarity. Today's skies are clearer than what one normally sees along the coast in SoCal. Despite the smoke, I can see Bessie Butte south of here. In Socal, a hill five miles away is lost in the haze.

    Truly clear days are rare, there. They generally follow cold front storms, providing those gorgeous skies that Hollywood likes when they show SoCal locations. Of course, 95% of all TV shows are filmed in SoCal so when there's a clear day, stock photo companies scramble to get footage and shots to sell.

    It's the pervasive glare of the skies down there that make wearing sunglasses pretty much mandatory. Had a friend from Santa Fe, NM, visit years ago. "We live in the desert and never wear sunglasses," he said. It's because the air in Santa Fe is clear and clean, so the skies are deep blue w/o the glare.

    SoCal can't say no to builders. People down there complain of the sprawl and congestion, yet they never vote yes on measures to limit growth. A weird disconnect. It's because those bastard builders are very successful convincing people that if they are not allowed to build as many damn houses as they want, the local economy will just collapse.

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  7. Your friend in Santa Fe needs to protect his/her eyes from UV radiation, glare or no glare.

    "SoCal can't say no to builders."

    Neither can Bend. If the demand was there, this place would be just as congested and crapified as SoCal.

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