Hello friends, and welcome once again into the world of the Bear Team! I’ve recently been asked by several people how things are going for us since moving to San Diego. Being a Georgia boy, everyone wants to know how I’ve adjusted, and what I’ve been doing with myself here in the golden state. I think the following link will answer any questions anyone might have: http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/412210/jackin-it-in-san-diego
Seriously though, things have been going well. Although I frequently poke fun at our adopted hometown in this blog, I’ve come to develop an affinity for the area. After all, I’d take any place in which I found myself living to task. I never intended to single out San Diego, and certainly haven’t meant to paint an unflattering portrait.
During the last ten months, Dena and I have been all over this fair city:
We’ve ascended to the heights of Cowles Mountain, the highest point in the city, and taken in the spectacular, panoramic views of San Diego, Mexico, and the peaks of Tecate, Otay, and El Cajon Mountains.
We’ve strolled along the coast, through Pacific, Mission, and Ocean Beachs, as the mighty Pacific ebbed and flowed, surfers braved the icy water, and pelicans perched on every steetlamp.
We’ve witnessed the sheer beauty of a day’s end at sunset cliffs, when the slanting light makes the cliffs glow an unearthly orange.
We’ve hiked along the myriad trails of Torrey Pines State Reserve, and felt the breezes which seem to have traveled all the way across the sea to cool our brows.
We’ve spent a New Year’s eve in Hillcrest, where insanely good tribute bands rocked the Ruby Room, and a Halloween in North Park, where a full blown, runway themed costume contest capped the late night festivities.
We’ve stood atop a skyscraper in the unholy hours of the night as a Dia de los Muertos party raged in the Gaslamp Quarter below.
We’ve crossed the soaring bay bridge to the island paradise known as Coronado, and taken a ferry across the bay as the sun painted the downtown buildings with a glorius Valentines Day sunset.
We’ve eaten some incredibly good food, especially the Mexican. Any place we go into is better than what we’ve had anywhere else in the country.
We’ve marveled at the beauty of Balboa Park, with its wonderful trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, and stood in awe at the quiet majesty of Fort Rosencrans National Cemetary at Point Loma.
I’ve never been anywhere that approached the beauty of this place. I’ve taken enough pictures (as those of you who are facebook friends of mine will attest) to fill scores of photo albums. Sometimes while driving, it takes every ounce of reserve I possess to prevent me from letting my eyes drift from the road to the hills, mountains, and vistas which surround me on every trip. I dare say that San Diego has surpassed the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen prior to arriving here in “America’s finest city:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3OhrWr5lzk.
Yes, San Diego is a fine city. Despite its flaws, I wouldn’t trade the experience of living here for anything; Except maybe a refund on all the parking tickets I’ve gotten. The cops are seriously picky about parking here. The other day I received a ticket for not turning my wheels toward the curb when parking on a hill. The fact that there was no sign saying that I should turn my wheels, coupled with the fact that I wasn’t, technically speaking, on a hill notwithstanding. Another $59 in the government coffers. I guess I shouldn’t complain. After all, the money will simply go to help pay for all of the social programs which I support, but from which I am not personally eligible to receive benefits.
Moving right along, it’s now time for our WTF moment. This week’s moment features the obese woman who cut in front of us at Albertson’s with a huge cart of food when we had only a few items, and then nearly ran us over in the parking lot in her attempts to eat a popsicle while driving. To this subhuman being I would like to say WTF? Wait until you get home to eat your treat. Or even better, don’t eat it at all! The last thing you need to do is snack between meals.
When I wasn’t being overwhelmed by beauty during the previous week, or dodging gluttonous drivers, I was reading “The Haunting of Hill House,” by Shirley Jackson. Ms. Jackson is a personal hero of mine, particularly for her legendary short story “The Lottery.” I’ve read this story more times than I can count, and even named the protaganist of one of my own stories “Shirley” in her honor. If you haven’t read this masterpiece, check it out here: http://sites.middlebury.edu/individualandthesociety/files/2010/09/jackson_lottery.pdf
Jackson does not disappoint with “The Haunting of Hill House.” This novel is, to me, the definitive haunted house story. From the opening paragraph, the novel sets an ominous tone:
“Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against the hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
From those chilling opening lines, to the words written on the bedroom wall, in blood, no less, to the late night bumping and banging, no other story so effectively captures the essence of the Bad Place the way “Hill House” does. ***Spoiler alert*** As the book progresses, and the hereoine finds herself feeling more and more as if she belongs to whatever lurks inside the house, the story leads to the only conclusion possible with the tragic climax. “Hill House” will keep you awake nights. In my opinion, that’s a good thing.
That’s about all I have to say for now, for the hour has grown late, and the bear must hibernate against the chill of night. As always, thanks for reading. Long days and pleasant days to you all. I’ll leave you with this week’s thought for the day, from which I’ve always drawn a great of insight:
“The grass is always greener on the sewer line”
Have a great night!