Ask an OB Convert: To Be OB, to Tree or not to Tree

by on December 19, 2010 · 15 comments

in Ask an OB Convert, Ocean Beach, Satire

Need help developing your  OB attitude?  Just ask OB Convert in a new column to spark discussion on what it means “To Be OB”. Readers, send your questions to us at

Dear OB Convert:

I just moved to OB and I love it here.  I want to know if buying a real tree that has been cut down for X-mas is an OB thing to do?  My boyfriend says OBecians love Mother Earth and don’t cut down trees.  I live in a 400 square foot cottage so a tree might not fit anyway.  What would a true Obecian Do?

Dear OB Wannabe:

Welcome to OB.  First of all, 400 square feet is plenty of room for a tree in an OB cottage, you gotta think vertically newbie!  Your surfboard goes on the ceiling.

Secondly, remind your boyfriend that OB is for everyone, including tree killers and earth lovers. (BTW, his surfboard stays in his car!) You should know by now, especially after the X-mas parade (which you must have attended if you really want to be an OBecian), that here in OB a celebration is more important then an environmental cause.   I’m afraid your boyfriend is right, while we do love mother earth here, not as much as a good party.  Take our 4th of July fireworks for instance, they’re bad for the earth, we know, but we think ours is a small crime. At least we don’t have fireworks AND cut down Torrey Pines,  build mansions on seacliffs, burn megawatts of energy to fuel our homes, gas guzzling cars, boats, and RVs while still being being miserable, uptight, unfriendly people who vote against the legalization of marijuana and  alcohol on the beach like some communities we know.   See?  It’s hard to feel bad when you look at it from this perspective.

Also, you live in a small cottage paying high rent so you’re probably too poor to make much of an impact on the earth anyway.  My advice is to support an OB business by buying a tree at the AppleTree grocery store, keep the tree until May when all the needles have fallen off, use the needles as mulch in your tiny garden and find a use for the trunk, like carving it into a walking stick.

If you still need a little absolution from guilt, do penance by picking up trash on the beach for 1 week.  I hope this helps but I’m just a convert so I welcome input from other people who feel they have can shed light on what a true OBecian would do.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

dave rice December 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Ha…nice new feature!

As a fellow recent OB convert, I’ll say we did buy a tree locally – from Rite Aid, a few bucks cheaper but the fact the trees in our price range (low) looked a little healthier was what drove my family to the corporate chain store sucking cash out of the local economy. I’m sorry. If it’s any consolation, we always recycle our tree at the big dropoff lot at Robb Field around New Years…though it would also be cool to save it until late January and get a handful of friends’ trees to pile in a firepit and set ablaze. I’ve been advised, however, that this would violate the flame height limit on the beach, though it’s darn cool to look at for 5 minutes or so.


Sarah December 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm

This year our tree found me. I was innocently walking through the corridor from Newport Ave through the VFW Building and to Appletree. My mood was decidedly not holidayish, I’d just battled my way down the sidewalk, stepping over the drunk guy with the “Need Beer” sign, skipping past the tangle of homeless dogs and their owners outside Starbucks. With groceries soon in hand and three dollars left over I headed home. Through the window of the VFW thrift store I saw a sad little plastic tree with built in lights. It was decidedly ugly and it cost exactly three dollars.

It’s lovely (ish)


OB Mercy December 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Been coming to OB for almost 30 yrs, but only moved here about a year and a half ago. Does that make me a recent convert?? Anyway, it’s my first year with a fake tree. Looks nice, but I miss the smell of a real one! It would fill up the whole house. I did the fake one for two reasons, being green, and the less politically correct one…it was less of a mess and I didn’t have to water it! Already thinking of dumping it for the real thing next year.


James December 19, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I’m sorry but this entire OB convert thing goes against being Obecian. To be Obecian means to do what you want and stay cool with your community. Buy a tree, don’t buy a tree; whatever you wanna be Obecian bake your neighbors some cookies.


OB Mercy December 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Hey James, my 12 yr old neighbor, Grace, just brought me a plate of cookies she made!! Ya gotta love the timing!


Sunshine December 19, 2010 at 7:48 pm

in my obpinion … i will not cut down a perfectly good tree and bring it into my home to die for any holiday.

who’s idea was it to mass produce small pine trees and encourage annual deforestation to make a buck? St. Boniface? Bodhi? Ashura? Joseph & Mary? St. Nick? nope. I just can’t buy into the commercialization of this one.


Jackie OB December 19, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I have lived quietly in OB for over 30 years. I was hooked in high school. (SDHS)
And moved here in the 60’s. OB is for all. When I was here there were lots of older folks living peacefully with the young and the then rif raff and collection of people that found themselves drawn to OB.
As far a trees go, I used to just get a neat house plant and put lights on it, or get a small living tree and decorate it, many people did that, as you wander around you can see where they planted the small live trees in the front and back yards and many have grown into big ol trees. But now I bought a fake small tree with lights and use it each year, therefore I do not need to put the lights on it, it has it on, and I just use my usual decorations…and I use scented candles to get the holiday scents I love… Anyhow, I do however go crazy and decorate my yard with bright lights, my thoughts to you are
? ?Come on, come on, Do, do, do, do what you want to do, yeah? whatever it is, it is OK
Welcome to OB
Jackie OB


annagrace December 19, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Our first Christmas here- 1978- I spent in Pennsylvania to help my dad take care of my mother after her surgery. I returned a few days before New Year and there was a Christmas tree in our living room. My Beloved rescued it from the alley a few days after Christmas. It still had stuff on it! (What’s with people pitching out their trees the day after Christmas?)

For the past decade or so, in lieu of a tree, we decorate the bare branches that we hung on the wall above the couch. The branches have lights on them year round, but at Christmas we string them with MORE LIGHTS! and all of our decorations. It is the one place where the cats haven’t figured out how to mount an attack- but I do envision them standing on each other’s backs with top cat swiping at the balls….

I do miss the smell of pine- maybe I need to hang the branches with those pine scented air freshener Christmas trees….

And Christmas trees DO make an awesome addition to the fire ring. (There’s a height limit on flames?????)

PS- I don’t live in OB (let’s hear it for North Park and City Heights) but I thought OB is a state of mind…


Avery December 20, 2010 at 8:42 am

Found the trimmings off someone else’s tree. They were considerate enough to leave them neatly stacked beside the recycle bin. Grabbed those babies and arranged them in my largest vast. Lights, baubles, and a star on top and we’re good to go!


Avery December 20, 2010 at 8:44 am

largest *vase* . . . . whoops!


Abby December 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I used to put up a fake tree, but the cat just pulls it down and scatters the decorations, so I have given up on it.

I’ll just enjoy the towns tree instead of having one in my home.


Frank Gormlie December 20, 2010 at 8:11 pm

This year, as last, we brought in from the outdoors our potted rosemary tree or rather bush and use it. It does look like a small Christmas tree – and it does have its own great scent. Patty placed some of Kathleen’s small ornaments on it and it’s flanked by two smallish potted poinsettias.

The whole issue of Christmas trees – especially for atheists and non-believers – becomes challenged if and when you have kids. With kids, it’s a whole new ballgame. And you give in to that … at least until they move out, if they do.

Then you go through a few minimalist years, but then here comes the grand-kids, and it’s a whole new …..


OB Mercy December 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm

So true Frank! I had a tree for just a couple of years after my son moved out and then nothing for several years. Now that I live next door to neighbor kids I love, I bought the tree and got out all my old ornaments so they could enjoy it. The 12 yr old helped me decorate it! That will do until my son gives me a grandchild!


editordude December 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I hope everybody saw Patty’s photoshopped tree with the OB Peace Sign.


Patty Jones December 20, 2010 at 9:43 pm

thanks, dude.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: