i was fortunate enough to spend my formative years growing up in a place most people in the country come to vacation. and while i may get jaded a time or two as i begrudgingly nurse a case of the “hair frizzies” when the marine layer inevitably rolls in around five pee-em, or run into a bit of backlogged traffic on highway 101 on a saturday afternoon, i try and maintain the healthy perspective that it’s not normal to wear sandals almost all year round and that not everyone has the beach within walking distance from their front porch.
and no where is this “reality check” best originated from than experiencing my city through a fresh set of eyes. the funny thing is, i’m not only talking about the midwest transplant object of my affection, but my own set of peepers as well. because despite living here for almost all of my 27 years of life, there remains to be a good portion of america’s finest that has yet to be discovered by yours truly. because life’s pretty comfy in the north county bubble.
so though the distance between the front doors of my boyfriend and my own total nearly 40 miles, throwing a monkey wrench into the regularity of our visits together, it has also resulted in the opportunity to familiarize myself with the lesser known parts of my beloved city of origin. point loma, pacfic beach, mission valley. and yesterday, ocean beach.
on an overcast but balmy sunday evening, donned in our broken-in flip flops and matching baseball caps, we trudged through the uneven sand along the shoreline, taking in the sights, smells and sounds of life near the water. and with the remnants of our walk on unpaved ground still lingering between our toes, we ventured upward to experience life on the OB pier.
if you haven’t yet discovered it for yourself, let me testify that there is an entire subculture along that half-mile strip of weathered wooden planks and peeling paint. struggling artists, feisty fishermen, teenage lovers strolling hand in hand. it’s a cultural feast for the eyes and ears, and a testament to just how melting this san diego pot truly is. and as we journeyed down the pier at a comfortable pace, i made sure to take mental snap shots of the world going on around me (i should have also taken actual snap shots since it would make a nice memento, but we were remiss in bringing our phones on this fortuitous jaunt); a world unfamiliar in nature, but beautiful all the same. and rather than be frightened by the people and customs much different than my own (let’s consider this walk my “one scary thing” for the day, shall we?), on this particular sunday, with my guy by my side, i instead embraced this tiny enclave of misfits; of sidewalk prophets and self-taught musicians, surfers and college co-eds and families of five. it was the most unassuming way to take in this sleepy beach side community for the first time. and i can’t help but to think this inaugural stroll to the coast will be the first of many to come (daylight permitting).
it’s funny to think there are still discoveries to be made mere minutes from your bedroom walls. but that’s the beauty of seeing your city through fresh eyes, suddenly everything old is new again.