When I first arrived in Clairemont, I was not sure what to think. My wife and I rented a studio apartment sight unseen on a very busy street. This is usually not a problem since I love white noise. However, as a person from the Midwest, I was shocked by the compact nature of everything in the neighborhood and in the city as a whole. The developers seemed bent on cramming as many businesses into small strip malls as possible. I found this to be very overwhelming to my senses.

The most interesting experiences we have had in Clairemont are with the transient population. I am fascinated by the sub-culture of residents living off the radar, without regard for the usual and expected behaviors in an otherwise civilized society. In one of many examples, there is a woman who picks through the trash bins every morning. I have left for work several times to see her carefully examining the contents and pulling out bottles, cans, and the occasional treasure that someone has discarded. Twice she has paused in her labor to wish me a warm “good morning”, to which I respond in kind and get into my car as quickly as possible.

Another noteworthy experience involves a character we met while doing laundry. He introduced himself to us (in a drunken stupor), and proceeded to tell us that he had planned to ask my wife on a date before he noticed me. He had quite a good laugh… We have not been to that particular establishment since. Later, we spotted him standing outside of a mega discount store looking pitiful with a little sign briefly describing his plight. It was clearly an act to garner some sympathy from the unsuspecting shoppers.

My estimation of this little piece of San Diego is that it attempts to blend urban and suburban life together which has a mixed effect. For us, it is a gateway to other places. A place to reside, but not a place to live. It is a quirky neighborhood where you can have all of the conveniences of any major metropolitan area, find a bite to eat at an off the wall place(if you look hard enough), relax at home in relative comfort, and peek out your window to see some of the neighbors make their beds in the bushes.

Comments

shizzyfinn Feb. 8, 2009 @ 6:19 p.m.

"Twice she has paused in her labor to wish me a warm 'good morning', to which I respond in kind and get into my car as quickly as possible."

That's so nice of you, kind of.

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