Thirty-Five Years Ago
[Susan] is alone this sunny morning, as she usually is while working.... Something catches her attention and she angles to a quick stop along the curb. Stepping lightly to the pavement, she walks to a parked car, just as a tall dark-haired man puffs red-faced down the sidewalk toward her and flings himself into the driver’s seat of the car.
“Next time, get your body in there faster!” she hollers.
Who is this strange young woman, breeder of fear in the hearts of countless grown men? Susan is a San Diego Parking Controller, or more commonly, a meter maid.
— “SISTER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?” Judith Lin, February 12, 1976
Thirty Years Ago
The Surfer Motel Lodge is like any other tacky tourist motel in San Diego.... There are expansive ocean views from nearly every room. It is an almost inconceivable locale for a very curious death to have occurred — a death in which a 55-year-old security guard suffered long and miserably, one in which he vomited up strange chemicals before he died...and all for the sake of the Surfer Motor Lodge.
— “DEATH OF THE MOTEL SOLDIER,” Mark Orwoll, February 12, 1981
Twenty-Five Years Ago
The normally placid waters of San Diego Bay have recently been the site of a war of words between enthusiasts of sailboarding, or windsurfing, and the San Diego Harbor Police. The sailboarders have steadfastly maintained that their 12-foot vessels, topped with sails, are boats. The harbor police, however, claim that sailboards are actually surfboards — and as a result are prohibited from the eight navigational channels throughout the bay that are designated by port district ordinance solely for boat traffic.
— CITY LIGHTS: “UNDER THE BOUNDING MAIN,” Thomas K. Arnold, February 13, 1986
Twenty Years Ago
Meat Wagon has acquired a vocal, enthusiastic bunch of partisans. I would find the group unbearable if they actually took themselves seriously. But it is painfully obvious that they don’t give a shit how they are received. Their live tape...does not dispense anarchy, it merely presents a bunch of loaded guys out to make noise, expel obscenities, scream jokes so lame they are almost surreal, and in general drop their nuts and guts.
— OF NOTE: “MEAT WAGON,” Stephen Esmedina, February 14, 1991
Fifteen Years Ago
When I was in high school, the cheerleaders raised money every Valentine’s selling red carnations.
Some girls got bouquets of red carnations. Jill Macy, who’d had three abortions before the football team voted as a block to elect her homecoming queen, stored her carnations in her locker. Michelle Strohm, who lay on her bed every morning and laboriously zipped up her Gitano jeans with a pair of needle-nosed pliers, got two or three carnations. Even my best friend Melissa, whose mother put her on the pill at 15, got six carnations from her boyfriend Paul. I never got a carnation.
— KID STUFF: “I NEVER GOT A CARNATION,” Anne Albright, February 8, 1996
Ten Years Ago
“I’m interested in people who wear black clothes.”
She considered this for a moment. “You know,” she said, “it’s people like you who have to find a symbol in everything that piss me off. Not everything has a meaning.”
Well, black clothes have many. But maybe what she meant was that the implications of black clothes are so numerous and disparate that studying them and those who wear them for the reflection of a single leitmotif is an absurd enterprise.
— “LEAVE ME ALONE: SAN DIEGO’S GOTHS,” Justin Wolff, February 8, 2001
Five Years Ago
Mexicali has changed a lot in recent years. No longer sleepy, it now has clubs, bars, and restaurants that feature live music with sophisticated lighting systems, wide-screen TVs, and satellite dishes.... My search for a local garage band began when I called up an old drinking buddy named Juan Corella.
Juan is now a partner in a local advertising agency, and he explained, “Mexicali is now the Seattle of Mexico in terms of music and new bands.”
— “YOUR WORDS ARE BRICKS,” Victor Esquer, February 9, 2006