San Diegans love to project a picture-perfect image of their city-year-round sunshine, surfing in December and beautiful sunsets every day. But are we any deeper than a million overly tanned beauties living envy-inducing lives in a climate-controlled utopia?
We might be, according to Google Trends-a new website that exposes the deepest desires of people around the world by tracking words and phrases that people have Googled in the past two years and ranking them by city.
Although it's still being perfected-its findings aren't gospel yet-a test-run of Google Trends revealed some pretty interesting stuff about other cities. It turns out the tree-hugging beatniks in Portland, Ore., Google the words "suicide" and "unemployment" more than any other city in the U.S.-two facts unlikely to be prominently featured in Portland's tourism brochures. Further investigation revealed that the open-minded animal lovers in Seattle type in "bestiality" the most, and Orlando, home to The Happiest Place on Earth, is also home to those who most frequently prowl the Internet for "kiddie porn."
So what do San Diegans Google? Are you sure you want to know?
Google Trends proves its merit by confirming the well-known fact that Southern Californians are interested in how they look. It comes as little surprise that San Diego topped the world list for Googling "fitness" and "personal trainer." We also made the top 10 for "makeover" and "diet."
But San Diegans don't mind taking the easy way out. San Diego beat every city in the world-even Los Angeles-for "plastic surgery," "fake breasts" and "liposuction." Only Irvine scored higher for "botox" searches.
San Diegans may love to eat food from south of the border, but Phoenix and Chandler, Ariz., topped Google's list for "Mexican food." Not only that, but San Diego ranked No. 7 for "taco," No. 8 for "burrito" and didn't even make the "enchilada" list. As for our culinary claim to fame, San Diego ranked only No. 6 for "fish taco," while Blacksburg, Va., where Beavis and Butthead is rumored to still be very popular, topped the list.
When San Diegans aren't standing in line for tacos or getting the cellulite sucked out of our backsides, we apparently spend a lot of time thinking about our next fix. San Diego ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for "drugs" and came in second in the world for "marijuana" and third for "bong." Not only that, we ranked in the top three for "hash" and the top 10 for "methamphetamine" and "weed." We're a wee bit skeptical about these results-remember, Google Trends is still in its early stages. Our city didn't even appear on the list for "alcohol" or "beer" or "liquor." We were No. 8 for "beer belly," but maybe that has more to do with liposuction.
Although it has long been an accepted fact that San Diego is Bush-lovin' country, Google Trends revealed a secret Democrat stronghold here. While we did rank among the top-10 American cities for "love Bush," we also made the list for "impeach Bush," "hate Bush" and "kill Bush." Google Trends also revealed some of the current issues San Diegans are interested in. San Diego ranked first in the U.S. for "immigration protests," with Los Angeles at No. 2. San Diego also ranked No. 3 in the world for "war in Iraq."
In other political matters, we ranked No. 6 in the U.S. for "anarchy" and No. 3 for "communism" and "socialism."
Our beloved freeways
L.A. may get the bad rap for traffic, but it's San Diegans who are worried about jammed freeways. We Google "traffic" more than anyone else in the world, and we're three spots ahead of L.A. in the top 10 for "smog." There are also signs that high gas prices may be taking their toll. In 2004, San Diego ranked No. 3 for Googling "SUV," but by 2006, the city dropped to No. 7.
Sunny San Diego
San Diegans may be preoccupied with traffic, but at least that interest is rational. Although San Diego isn't among the 50 rainiest cities in the U.S., San Diegans are obsessed with the rain, ranking among the top 10 for "rain" and "umbrella." Interestingly enough, we didn't make the top 10 for "sun" or "sunny." Perhaps we know all we need to know about that.
Obviously, or not so much
It was easy to predict a No. 1 ranking for "Padres," "zoo" and "Marines." But who would have guessed that San Diego would rank in the top 10 for "pretentious," "pizza" and "prostitution." We'll leave it to you to figure out what that means.