Giving Thanks in San Diego

by on November 19, 2012 · 3 comments

in American Empire, Columns, Under the Perfect Sun

It’s Thanksgiving week and lots of progressives are still feeling giddy about the near clean sweep in the recent election.  But, I’m going to take a break from politics this time and focus on what we have to be grateful for here in San Diego other than our new political landscape.  Despite the historically problematic origins of the Thanksgiving holiday, it never hurts to take stock.  So here’s a random list of some cherished things ranging from the profligate to the profound:

1) 30th Street is the main drag of Beer CityUSA.  You can hop on and off the # 2 bus from Hamilton’s to the Stone bottle shop to the Toronado to Tiger Tiger for the best microbrews in the country made right here in San Diego with our own glorious focus on the IPA.  They drink our beer up all the way up the coast from San Francisco to Seattle ‘cause it’s the best.  And there isn’t anything east of here worth notice.  Cheers!

2) San Diego State basketball is the best in the West: Steve Fisher built it and they came.  We have a real, nationally recognized presence in college hoops. For those of us who can remember sitting in the tomb-like Sports Arena with a handful of other fans, this still seems like a miracle.  Forget the Chargers or Padres—the real sports action is in the gym on theMesa.  Don’t let that stupid game on the Midway get you down.  Believe.

3) Our changing demographics are making us a vastly more diverse and interesting city.  This will transform our politics, culture, cuisine, and character as we wander our way into the future.  It’s the end of our corner of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.  From the poetry of the street onEl Cajon Boulevard to the Dia de Los Muertos altars inShermanHeights to the walking meditations inDeer Park inEscondido, this is not your grandparents’San Diego—it’s yours.  Embrace it.

4) Our Real Neighborhoods rock: Send the tourists to downtown, Old Town, and the trendier theme-parked beach spots and nature parks—let’s hang out in Ocean Beach, Golden Hill,North Park,City Heights, Barrio Logan, and all the other unsung spaces of San Diego.  There are lots of great things going on in galleries, clubs, collectives, farmers’ markets, and forgotten parks hidden behind the postcard and still safe from gentrification.  If we are smart we can keep it that way.

5) Wild Spaces: From hidden canyons in the urban core to obscure beach spots to the backcountry, the best thing aboutSan Diego is still the wild spaces we have not yet ruined. If you are lucky, you can catch a glimpse of a dolphin and a deer within an hour inSan DiegoCounty.   And you can still see the stars in Anza Borrego and have a sense of how small and vast you are at the same time.

It’s out there in the heart of nowhere or maybe just in a quiet moment at the end of the OB pier as the sun dances on the water where you can stop and think about the words of the old courage teacher and giver of thanks for all that is: “Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, ?You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.”

Thanks for that wise bard and thanks for everything that is.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Terrie Leigh Relf November 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm

A nice list, Jim.

Best to you and Kelly and Walter, too, of course!

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avatar mr.rick November 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm

This Thanksgiving, we should give thanks also to the San Diego Chargers for showing San Diego that a taxpayer stadium is not in the cards. This Charger team has degenerated to the point of not even being on the radar.

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avatar Stephanie Mood November 23, 2012 at 10:36 am

I bequeath myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.
I am thankful for Walt Whitman, whose “barbaric yawp” sings over the roofs of the world. . . thanks, Jim, for sending me back to his song.

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