I moved here on July 14, 1993, a hot and bitter Bastille Day, with a cat in cargo, a cat under the seat, and a fragile, coffee-dyed, shadowbox-encased thread origami (by conceptual artist extraordinaire Emil Lukas) in the lap of my then-husband, M. I so did not want to be here.
My last NYC takeout coffee cup flew cross country with me. Shoved it in my bag. Threw it out in the SD airport terminal. At least I didn’t keep it. I’m not that crazy.
I saw the move as an enforced galut. An exile. And not on Main Street.
Or at least my idea of Main Street.
I was a Zabars girl, a Barneys girl, a Balducci’s and Shakespeare and Company girl. I was originally a Long Island Rail Road girl, well versed in freezing on a train platform en route to Bridge and Tunnel antics. Danceteria, Peppermint Lounge, Kill the Robots, Area. Douglaston, Little Neck, Grrrrrrreat Neck.
I was not a surfer girl. Flip flops were transgressive; feet were private, and I did not want to see the callused toes of strangers, sprawled in dingy plastic all over the landscape. I could barely drive.
Seventeen years later: Annie don’t surf. My flip flops are platform, bamboo colored, and worn judiciously. And I drive like a dream.
On a Monday night of any week, a regular Monday in January, 60 degrees and no wind chill, no chapped cheeks in the overheated bookstore, I can take a mesmerizingly sweet friend, new in town, to see the most kickass seal rookery imaginable. Hear the seals woof and bicker, kvetching, nasal. Big waves lit by a faint golden light beaming through fog or clouds or both. It’s amazing. (To say nothing of the company.)
I live here. It’s my blonde native San Diegan daughters, the cuckoo puppy Sebastian, my two dignified cats, a fish who needs a water change, and I, the chick who complained about gummy SD bread for years.
1993 was a long time ago.
And to M., there then and here (in spirit) now: Insipidiego ain’t so freaking bad. Thank you. I love you.