The incredible echoing boom came from a couple of blocks over, during the Friday evening Cruisin' Grand event, an auto show in Escondido that brings out shiny old cars, a variety of fair food vendors and crowds of people dressed in leather jackets of the greaser variety. The lack of screams or police sirens assures me that the noise must have been a car backfiring, but really, who knows? I moved into the center of Downtown Escondido for the location, right in the middle of everything. I previously lived in the quiet valley of San Pasqual, a mile from the Wild Animal Park. Cows, Ostrich farms and the lovely scent of manure that doubles its loveliness in the sticky heat of summer; the kind of place that makes you miss the sound of traffic. But here on Second Avenue, walking minutes from the movie theater, the public library across the street and a Little Caesar's within my car-less reach, I'm in my people loving element. It's been so long living in a place where the bus comes twice a day, that the sight of strangers walking down the street makes me smile too big and wave as though I've known them forever. But the truth is, I just missed them.

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