Rain to Rainbows

Pride 2014.

I ate frozen yogurt with gummy bears, and my day was brightly colored and cold. We cheered a truck with an 8-foot pink sign: “Queer Community, NOT Gay Capitalism.” The SDCC credit union tipped its great big blue inflated ship to fit under the traffic lights at University and Richmond.   I walked a lot, in heavy combat boots, and I drank a lot, mostly Alesmith’s Horny Devil.

In Balboa Park, I sat in a swing and twisted the chain, over and over, so I could spin in circles. So I could grope for the delight in momentum. I did so much spinning. My friends devised a high-five chain and we rotated like gears, teeth meeting or hands slapping. I remained with just one friend; the rest fell away dizzy. I could discern just his hand as the only interruption in the horizontal lines. No matter how much I spun, I could not gather enough centrifugal force to spin my malaise out of my ears. No matter where I followed my friends and which delights I encountered, I could not stop leaning on the wall that held back tears.

So much walking made my feet blister. Mostly, I focused on not complaining about my feet hurting. Maybe my face was full of pain. Are you okay, Sami? “I don’t know. I don’t know.” When we got back to our friend’s house, I snuck away to the courtyard by myself and put my forehead down on a table.

I cried slow tears into my hands. Neighbors interrupted me. “I’m just sad.” Who broke your heart? “I’m just sad.” My friends found me. Are you okay, Sami? “I’ve been better.” Do you want to talk about it? “I don’t know. I don’t know.” I started really sobbing. Do you want to go lie down? “Yes.” So I was taken to a bed and spooned.  I sobbed, and I said, “I don’t want to be this person right now.”

Pride 2015.

I grinned and gripped my friend’s torso as I ducked in closer under our shared umbrella. The rain was warm, like the air. I walked a lot, in borrowed galoshes over thick fuzzy socks, and I drank a lot, mostly mimosas and tequila. We watched the Bears San Diego truck drive past. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, in full-face makeup, seemed unfazed by the wet weather. When thunder boomed, the crowd screamed in fright and excitement.

It always mattered to me, to be granted the symbol by my society that is marriage equality. Yet it did not land heavy on my shoulders like the honor of a sacred mantle — no it burst with scattered feathers to the big sky. I had been living in unwilling rebellion, a part of me deemed “illegal” by my country, like I were a fugitive. Now, I feel weightless, and I know that this July, San Diego has seen its biggest summer rainbow.

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Rain breaks my brain

Much like the rest of San Diego, I can’t seem to operate during the “rain.” And by rain I mean a light drizzle (or is it sprinkle? I’m not so good with the vocab in this area…). The sky is doing the wet thing and I am confused and I can’t do write good no more.

So here is a picture I drew:

Sketch raining in san diego comic

The Curse

I am in San Francisco. It is fucking beautiful. It is the Curse.
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Like all true San Diego natives, I bring the weather with me wherever I go. I went to England in the summer (which is actually a shit time to go, weather-wise) and it only rained once in three weeks: the day I was leaving. So, this morning it is sunny, 65 degrees and warming. My phone’s weather icon shows 53 degrees and cloudy, but it’s wrong: I’m in a bubble of perfect sunshine. Just as I was yesterday. Just as I will be tomorrow.

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This is a Curse because it keeps us San Diegans naive about the world. We start thinking we can do things. We start thinking we could live in other places. Yesterday I started thinking I should live here. We walked out of the tenderloin. We walked through the Castro, and Haight Ashbury. We walked through the Farmers Market at the Civic Center where a yellow sign promised its daily presence (rain or shine!) and we bought and ate strawberries the size of apples. Then we went to the Mill, where racks of homemade bread filled up the place with that smell of racks of homemade bread. We went to the Rainbow, for which my only reference for similarity as a San Diegan is Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s also has a community board, but the Rainbow community board is actually used, with letters to and from the staff about BPA in receipts and why fruit ripens faster in bags. I waited for Katie to get out of the bathroom next to a bag of bat guano.
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I didn’t think I was the kind of girl who could sit in a park and drink Kombucha, but we sat in Dolores park and I drank my first Kombucha. I thought to myself, this isn’t a bad fucking life. On a sunny Tuesday, parks back home are deserted but here, there wasn’t a person less than 10 feet away no matter where you sit. A man, possibly homeless, played “Three Little Birds,” which could have been irritating because it’s too obvious, but I thought to myself that he is self-regulating, he is getting a needed dose of happiness. He is soaking up this sun and pumping serotonin through his brain, dancing as he sits and singing along and pretending he is connecting with the people around him (they’re ignoring him).

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At home we have plenty of crazies. I don’t see them often, because I don’t go downtown ever, but I know they’re there. These SF crazies don’t look at me twice just because I’m holding hands with a pretty girl. They look at me twice (rarely) because I’m a pretty girl, but not because I’m queer. I watch a man hold a fluffy white rose for another man to smell. A girl with buzzed hair smiles gently at me, knowingly.

I remind myself that every day isn’t like this. I remind myself grittiness is tasty in small bites, but I’ve never lived through a whole meal of it. I remind myself that back home I am disturbed by the crazies. San Diego perfect weather is relentless. San Francisco sunshine is just a little bit delirious. I know I can’t live here because in my heart of hearts I know how inconsolable I get on a “blustery” day. I know this, but the Curse tricked me into thinking I can do these things. So I am waiting in Katie’s apartment for her to get back with moleskin for my blistered feet, waiting for these 600 mg of Ibuprofen to kick in so I’ll go numb to my aching legs. It is quite lovely here, but I know it is only a vacation, and that I’m a San Diego princess, and goddamn why did I walk like 5 miles yesterday?

Why San Diego is Awesome

Ok, so, this video is not why I think San Diego is awesome, but it’s so spot on that I had moments where I forgot that it’s a parody. I’m pretty sure I’ve been to that Rigoberto’s…

And I don’t even need to write a comment because Michael here had the same thought:

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Obviously, as a gay female feminist, ‘bro culture’ is not my most favorite thing. When bros are going on bragging about taking advantage of women (or trying to score blow jobs) I tend to get kicky. Otherwise, I’m usually amused by the way they talk and their gentle sort of simplemindedness. Oh, and I love when a brah grasps for those profound thoughts, I really do. Have you ever noticed how their faces soften, their mouths start to form the o-shaped awe of their childlike wonder?

Also, turns out the ridiculously blissful weather is not why SD is particularly awesome, though of course I admit I’m completely dependent on it and I would be utterly lost if it actually snowed ever. I would be embarrassed for myself, except I really don’t care that some people out there are proud of themselves for being “rugged” and “weather-wise” — if I move and need to deal with the realities which come from a variety of precipitation falling from the sky, then fine, I’ll learn. Otherwise I’m busy focusing on weighing my ambitions with my social survival needs — not fantasizing about some zombie apocalypse where my ability to light a fire with a shoelace is going to be important.

All the flowering fruitless plums? That's "snowy" enough for me.

All the flowering fruitless plums? That’s “snowy” enough for me.

Anyway, the weather is not my “big deal” here.  I don’t see a lot of daylight anyway. Not only because my schedule keeps me inside on a computer most of the time but I’ve also kind of elected to avoid the sun and outdoor activities. For example, of course I have surfed (has any local never surfed? Tell me in the comments) but I didn’t really get into it because 1) my glorious princess hair turns to ratty straw with all that sea water 2) I sunburn in 13 minutes when the $4-per-ounce 110 SPF sunscreen is finally battered off my skin by waves & sand and 3) I’m not really a meditative person so I don’t get “totally stoked” to sit on a buoyant piece of foam covered in fiberglass for hours not talking to anyone and collecting skin cancer.

And before the 5th person gives a "helpful suggestion" I *do* own a rash guard.

And before the 5th person gives a “helpful suggestion” I *do* own a rash guard.

Most people will tell you SD is awesome because it’s relaxing, “nice,” friendly… They laud the small town atmosphere and remark that it seems like everyone knows each other (they don’t, but it’s okay, we like pretending).  Also, most importantly, it’s “better than LA.” Which it’s really not, and anyone who says so probably lived there and submitted to the soul-crushing forces and insecurity that comes from being surrounded by beautiful, successful people. I’m honestly not sure how well I’d fare in our city’s big sister but I will say it’s lovely to feel like a big fish in a little lake (or a whale’s vagina).

Those kinds of conversations, about how SD is so nice and the weather is fucking rad, are immensely boring to me.  I’m too young to be grateful for a pleasant atmosphere to the point of making it my perpetual focus of small-talk. (I’d rather just take it for granted.) In fact I willfully throw myself into the chaotic fires of the night. Turns out, this is not a bad place to do that.

The underground scenes in SD are cushioned from the watchful eye of the media and/or your catholic grandparents because everyone is too busy defending how “pleasant” this place is.  They call our city a “town” and drink in the big clear skies and hum the word “quaint” as a daily mantra. The fact that the only problems with this town are First World Problems (although the crumbling sidewalks are fucking shameful) gives us a kind of cushion that allows us to build hidden lairs of resistance.  Or just, you know, dens of sin.

Slowly we will start to face the kind of scruple laid on places like NY and LA, but for now, expectations are low or nonexistent. It’s quite easy to squirm your way out of conversations where you’ve said too much about what happened last night since the imagination factor for the “normals” out here is quite scant.

I think many a creative mind lashes out against the ennui here, and we make our own fun out of thin air. We build playgrounds in the desert, we have subterranean punk shows, we put tails on and dance in warehouses. After two years (I was less cool in college) of paying attention, I finally know where to look. I’ve found something awesome in San Diego.

Why is San Diego so Boring?

Though I often feel the same way, as soon as someone says to me, “Sami, SD is boring,” I want to reply, “You’re boring. There’s tons of things to do here.” I think, as a tourist town, we want to protect our city from the ignorant criticism of visitors.

Still, maybe it’s just the softly trickling rain keeping me apartment-bound, but I am bored. Actually I’ve been carrying around a boredom monkey for awhile now. There’s sort of an ennui in happiness and stability, and this is not the best town in which to forage for chaos. In this heaven, we’re a bit oblivious to evil and all the fun it brings.

That's the evilest thing I can imagine.

One time I was so bored I photoshopped pictures of a goat into my parents backyard and texted them to my brother, who lives in Berkeley.

I guess that’s part of why I got so wasted at Flick’s last night that the “kicky boots” and “bear arm” came out. Did I make out with Xanadu again? I didn’t wake up with her lipstick smeared on my face, so I’m guessing not.

This is a beach town, not a gritty cosmopolitan city with heated philosophical discussions in coffee shops. People flock here to relax, and the rest of us have to fight for our right to party. I am so lame. Sorry. The closest I’ve had to a political conversation with someone in the past 2 months was a fight I picked with a constitutionalist about minority rights.

I’m a bleeding-heart liberal (except when Ron Swanson talks about pretty, dark-haired women and breakfast food and I want to be him) in a conservative, military town.  The young hippies here drive me just as nuts with their pseudo-spiritualities and adherence to the astrological calendar.  I don’t have time to care when the moon is in capricorn and uranus is over my hammy.

Here’s what San Diegans think we do when we’re bored:

  • Surf
  • Go to Julian
  • Suntan regardless of season
  • Tourist it up at Seaworld, Balboa Park, etc.
  • Other outdoorsy stuff that sounds impressive on a dating profile.

This is what we actually do. Well, I do:

  • This is Avatar. She is fat.Drink alcohol. Beer is amazing here. Liquor is abundant and varied. Check out KnBs in Del Cerro.
  • Browse OkCupid. Mostly I use it to get new friends and you should too.
  • Paint my nails.
  • Thrift Shopping. If the sun is out and I have the day off, this is pretty much the only thing that will get me out in public. Because…
  • Backyard / front-yard day drinking with my parents. They have 3 parrots and we have screaming contests.
  • Arts and crafts. San Diego is one of the top 3 creative cities according to this bloke I discovered today named Richard Florida. I can always find a friend to do a photoshoot or collaborative paint, or make tutus.
  • Find a band practice. I don’t play music, but I like to doodle while other people abuse guitars for 3 hours.
  • Okayyyyyy I do enjoy nature crap. Sometimes. A night hike on Cowles will draw out good conversation with a friend.
  • Video games with friends.
Here's a video of me playing Dead Space 2. Warning, I suck.

Here’s a video of me playing Dead Space 2. Warning, I suck.

Do you agree that SD is boring and what do you do to stay entertained? Comment below.  You don’t need an account or anything; it’s easy to leave a comment.

Sorry about the short post! My friend made me start over from scratch because my first draft was yet another lesbian rant…

When it Sprinkles it Pours

For my inaugural post, I might as well get this one out of the way: weather.

SD locals feel the same way about the weather as I do about your (you know who you are) ex-girlfriend — I wish she didn’t exist.

The truth is, we all know at some level that weather is the main reason why we can’t ever leave San Diego. We know that other cities have snow and sleet and intense humidity and deep down, realize that if we ever lived anywhere else we’d ask our parents for more money so we could move back. Or, for the SD natives out there, move in…

Apparently it's spring because this hummingbird is building a nest on my back patio.

Apparently it’s spring because this hummingbird is building a nest on my back patio.

There are other reasons not to leave (beer), but the weather here sits on your back and gnaws on your neck and every day the endlessly cheerful sun bakes you into submission.

Hypo-manic with fear, we discuss rain and sun and fog in a tone that is easy to confuse with eagerness.  Oh, we’re not pleasant or easily amused; we’re terrified.

And then it rains. San Diegans go ballistic not just because they seldom see the rain, but because it is betrayal. The rain fills the tiny cracks (or gaping crevices) in our streets and our illusion of perfection. We make it exciting; on our news stations we write STORMWATCH in Impact (or the fattest helvetica you’ve ever seen) and we reassure each other that the weather is, in fact, a novelty. Everything will go back to normal soon.

"MicroClimate Weather" - Does anyone actually say that?

“MicroClimate Weather” – What? Does anyone actually say that? (Click pic to view video from SoCal Skywatch. The juxtaposition of flawless skies and moody storm language makes me giggle.)

We purge knowledge of relatively predictable weather patterns from our carefully edited memories. San Diegans chitter and fawn over the first rain after Christmas annually when, in fact, every year it is sunny on Christmas and every year it rains on my birthday just two days later and no one wants to hang out and I watch my dreams wash down the gutter along with my youth…

I need only drop my handbag in the seasonal puddle that ebbs from the floor in my leaky convertible to know how deep in denial I am about the weather. Actually, now it’s more of a pond because recently thieves slashed my soft top.  I haven’t finished fixing it but I kinda stitched it up; I am pretty proud of myself.  Not sure how to make it waterproof just yet.  I’m thinking a patch that looks like a band-aid to really give that pathetic-yet-cute feel.

I don't always order Dos Equis....but when I do I get charged 6 freaking dollars

Sometimes I draw comic-y stuff.

When it mists lightly sprinkles “rains,” few San Diegans venture into the bars and their ill-equipped smoking patios. I seriously love First on Fifth for being liveable when it’s wet out.  Though I will never order a Dos Equis there again.

So, for this reason among many, I’m collecting together a nightlife guide that makes it worth it to lace on your boots and brave the broken flooded streets for the next couple of months. But it’s still totally sunny right now.  Booyah. Eat that winter.

Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you the Survival Guide ASAP. Or like, just write you an informal message with awesome weekend ideas since I don’t have a swanky newsletter or anything. Tourists, go party Downtown or something; this isn’t for you.

Next week’s post won’t be so topical!