This issue of CityBeat is called “The Student Survival Guide,” so I thought I'd take this opportunity to welcome all you new students who have just moved to San Diego from all over the world to spend your college years with us here in “America's Finest City.”
Now that your boxes are unpacked, and you've met your roommate and you've set up your computer, I'll bet you're looking around with folded arms and wondering, Just what kind of town is this San Diego town and what sort of approach should one take to living here?
So, what kind of town is this? Well, San Diego is this ultra-gorgeous city-what with the bays and the ocean and the palm trees and the near-perfect climate. We've got restaurants. We've got parks. We have outdoor malls. We have liquor in the supermarket. We get great weed. We've got dive bars. We have a downtown that does not suck. We've got many hotties! We've got taco stands so good they make authentic Mexican food taste like dried rubber bands. We've got a scorching live-music scene, what with that Album Leaf thing that's taking off right now, and Plump, and Bunky, and-Lord have mercy on our Christian souls-word on the street is Barefoot Hockey Goalie is returning.
That's the good news. The bad news is that we're a bunch of pussies. Politically speaking that is. We're uptight. We're stifling. We're scared. We've got laws on top of laws that eclipse laws that contradict laws made in order to protect ourselves from exaggerated demons. We're frightened to death of death and think we can legislate a path to immortality. We're Puritans. We're bureaucrats. We're prudes. We hate seals. We pander to the vocal minority, themselves a nervous lot. We stare at the sky because they say it's falling, yet a great, looming earthquake grumbles below us unnoticed. Some might say we're conservative. I call us tightly wound.
As for Question 2, “What sort of approach should one take to living here?” That's hard to say. It depends on what you want to accomplish. I can give you some tips though, an idea of how to approach some of the situations you will surely encounter while here or avoid some common mistakes specific to new San Diego residents, such as:
1. Traffic Ticket Maintenance: So you got a traffic ticket today? Listen carefully: You must pay the fine immediately! Oh, how many lives have been sucked down the drain of the San Diego traffic ticket-and-fining system. It happens all the time: You get the citation and, since it's not due for a couple of months, you put it in the back of some desk drawer, forgetting all about it. Along you go, merrily through your life in complete citation denial as the fine doubles, then redoubles, then double-redoubles, then quadruples, then quintuples, then quadruple-octuple-centuples, again, and again, and all the while the thing is centupling all over the place, the warrant for your arrest is out-sourced to highway bounty hunters, who hunt you down on the roads with military- issue hummers and ram your vehicle into a telephone pole, causing it to burst into a flesh-melting fireball.
2. Sporting Etiquette: San Diegans are sensitive about their miserable lot in life when it comes to pro sports. We only have two major pro teams here, the Chargers and the Padres, and they both nearly always suck. My advice is to just stick with the team you already have. They won't break your heart the way our teams break your heart. And for God's sake, be kind to the lowly Charger/Padre fans. They're a broken people. (Tip: Say you're from St. Louis and your Cardinals come to town and crush the Padres in a series sweep. Don't gloat. Say something positive instead like, “Hey now, them Padre players can't play ball or nothing, but they sure seem like a nice bunch of guys.” Local fans will appreciate the gesture.
3. Party-Throwing: Bottom line-be careful. This is not a party-friendly town. We're always coming up with some bullshit law that throws party-throwers in jail or fines them into oblivion. In fact, the city recently passed this new “Social Host Ordinance,” which basically says that if you host a gala of some kind, and someone under the age of 21 consumes alcoholic beverages with your knowledge, then the city is legally permitted to screw you with a concrete dildo. So, say you're throwing a party and you notice the 20-year-old hottie from your lit class is sipping off a cup of jungle juice. Do you let her get drunk so she'll be easy pickings later? Or do you say, “Ummm, excuse me, Miss Perfect College Hottie Babe, I have to confiscate that punch from you now. It's the law” and sadly wipe the tears as she and all her hottie friends walk out your door never to return again forever and ever? It's a decision only you can make, but at least know the risks.
4. Ways to Die in San Diego: Every locale has certain dangers specific to that locale. For instance, Florida has the hurricane. Alaska has the grizzly. Here are five things that will kill you in San Diego:
1) Trolley Pulverization
2) Shark Attack
3) School Shootings: San Diego is the capital of school shootings. Who can forget Brenda Spencer, the first modern-day school shooter in the nation, who wounded nine and killed two in a 1979 school massacre, or Andy Williams, who opened fire on his classmates on March 2001, killing two and wounding eleven.
4) Being a Big, Black Football Player and Accidentally Wandering into Somebody Else's Apartment: As was the case of Demetrius DuBose, a former NFL linebacker who was shot 12 times (five in the back) by San Diego police because he was really, really big and really, really black. (Tip: Don't be big and black in San Diego. Try not to be Mexican here, either.)
5) June Bug Attacks: The June bug (Cotinus nitida) is San Diego's most dangerous creature. They are large, flying green beetles that look like a cross between a bumblebee and a Sumo wrestler. You can hear them coming because they buzz loudly as they fly and bump into things with resounding, horrifying thuds. The June Bug (also called The Beetle of Death) is dangerous because the female has razor-like barbs on her legs that slice open your skin, leaving an open wound in which to lay her eggs. If left untreated, the eggs hatch in the small intestines and the larvae consume your insides. (Tip: Whenever you see a June Bug in the area, best to leap out of your lawn chair and swat wildly at the buzzing beast as you go running down the block screaming in terror.) B
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