When I first moved to San Diego in 1979 I was not very impressed. I thought, out loud unfortunately for me, that here was a city lacking in parks, anti-bicycle, noisy, dirty, over-crowded, car-centric, and lacking some sort of intellectual consciousness. I remember driving one of my cousins to complete apoplexy, to the point where she suggested I just leave. Leaving wasn't an option I could contemplate, so I stayed, got married, and now have the complete freedom of a mortgage, two jobs, kids in high school . . . the freedom of success!
So yeah, I'm totally screwed. 26 years later and I, for stupid self-indulgent reasons I can only begin to accept, I have been asking folks a similar question: what is wrong with this place? I know that the short answer is simply me. I don't fit in, and I ask too many negative questions. People I've queried on the general malaise that is San Diego "intellectual" life ask me fairly enough if anywhere else is better? Better for what I guess should be my reply. But it always puzzles me how normal it is for folks to always default to local pride whenever they are describing their city and their life. "I bought this ticket and I'm taking the ride. And because life has got to be great, therefore I made the right decision! San Diego rocks!"
Please. San Diego is kinda pathetic, us always looking north to say what we are by what we are not. And the rest of the nation and world sees us as a cul-de-sac branching off from LA, with a second rate newspaper (hey, we got a Pulitzer, for busting a guy that the editorial board loved and always mindlessly supported, woo-hoo!) half-assed sport teams, a polluted river, gridlock, and, of course a world class zoo. The scientific community here is first-rate, but how much does that trickle down into the mentality of the plebeians? Like any huge metropolis there are cities within the city that can be occupied with some amount of grace and decency. But you can't argue with the voting record of this town: we vote for stupid. Stupid works for us. And that is the answer I think I will always get, gussied up and painted pretty colors like a 19th century whore, when I ask why it is this place is such a parochial shitland. Now shut up and enjoy the weather will ya?