I don’t know where I live. I may know my street address; my city; my zip code, the color of my house and its location relative to the other houses on my block. I don’t know what neighborhood I live in.
Most would say I live in the “ghetto” or “hood” or bad part of San Diego. I don’t see like this. Actually, until recently, I didn’t realize that the young, black men that hang out on the street corners at night might be up to no good. I used to think these boys were hanging out with friends. Go figure. I do tend to be rather naïve. I don’t see how my neighborhood is considered to be a bad neighborhood. Besides the horrible traffic that accumulates on University and constant sirens (from the nearby PD and FD stations), there really are no major incidents that occur in my little section of San Diego. I rather enjoy this neighborhood.
I have lived in Cherokee Point, North Park, City Heights, North Park, and what the Union Tribune recently called City Heights West. I live in no man’s land. When asked where I live, I answer depending on the person. If it’s a student from my alma mater (I still can’t believe I graduated from a university at times) I ask if they know Mid City Naz. Or, if asked by a stranger, a co worker or such, I say east of North Park. Most people know where North Park is nowadays (dang hipsters!). And sometimes, sometimes I say City Heights or west thereof. This is for the few people that actually know where it’s located. These are my favorite people—if they like City Heights.
I live close enough to every major attraction in San Diego. I am less than a mile away from two major freeways and then it’s only really a mile downhill until the 8 to take me as far west as the ocean and my alma mater (PLNU) or as far east as Arizona (or so I hear). The famous steak burger place with THE BEST deals and meals. I swear they know it’s me calling the instant I say hello to place an order. Twenty minutes later, sometimes ten if it’s not busy, I have the best burger and fries for five dollars that a girl—or guy—could ever have.
There’s the liquor store on my corner that has existed longer than I’ve lived here and gone through more owners and employees than I can remember. Speaking of alcohol, there’s at least 3 liquor stores in my area but only one bar. One lonely seedy bar that caters to the Spanish speaking population. I have yet to dare venture in there. Say what you will, but I am wary of strange older Mexican men.
I may not know where I live but I sure do know where I come from. I come from an area less developed than City Heights—Price Charities hasn’t arrived. I come from an area more diverse than North Park—although I have noticed more yuppies and hipsters. I come from an area where I’m not afraid to walk outside, at night and alone—in rather frumpy and scandalous pajamas, I might add. I come from a place I love. I come from home.
I may not be a “true” City Heights resident. I never attended any of the schools nearby. I may not be a true North Park resident. I rather dislike the development and growth that has occurred recently. I may share a zip code with one and a love for diversity with another, but I know where my home is. I live in North Cherokee Heights. I live in San Diego. I live in southern California. I live on earth.