Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
Hipsters, homeys, artists and bums, you roam the streets of Lomas de Oro, each with your own step or gait. I observe you all in all of your uniqueness and beauty and I am completely happy. Oh, but wait, I have not forgot the yuppies and the soccer moms, or the business men either. I watch you and am just as happy. You all also have you own stumble and jaunt. This community is a cluster of people that rarely exist together and because of that Golden Hill is my home.
Said the bum waiting outside of Los Reyes taco shop on 25th and Broadway, “can I get a quarter”?
Answered the hipster with the brown bag holding his bean and cheese burrito, “I don’t have any cash but you want a beer”?
“Yeah!” answers the bum.
The hipster goes to his 1984 Buick Skylark and grabs the unopened 12 pack of Keystone Light that sits in the passenger seat and gives the bum a beer. The bum goes to the bus stop on the corner and sips.
I observe it all and smile a smile that erupts from the tips of my toes: pure beauty.
A recent day in Golden Hill Park was spent watching the Mexican guys play pick-up soccer games and then gather around their cars and drink beer and listen to the trumped up trumpets of Banda music. Speaking of the park, have you ever noticed the amazing trees that erupt in crazy geometries from the ground?
Now onto the homeys, the chollos, the gangsters or whatever names people attribute to them. I watch them go in and out of certain houses and apartments in Golden Hill speaking their slang, half English, half Spanish, have Mozart half Tupac to my ears. I watch a couple youngsters tag a fire hydrant with a Sharpie in broad daylight on the corner of 31st and A Street. All I can do is nod. Not in agreement or judgment but simply in recognition that people do what they do and must keep doing what they do.
I love drinking tequila in the early afternoon with my 65 year old landlord and his 82 year old buddy. We sip it slowly out of small glasses and they talk of how different the neighborhood was even 5 years ago. The limes we suck on with the tequila are from a tree in front of my apartment and they are sour and bitter at first but give way to brightness and sweetness very similar to the way Golden Hill changes from first bite to last.
The Starbucks on 28th and B Street is a centerpiece of the neighborhood and an excellent cross section of the people. I watch guys and ladies in their sharp suits spill coffee on their ties or blouses from the crappy lids. I see a thuggish looking black guy order a big creamy, whip cream with syrup on top, type of thing and love how it immediately makes him seem less thuggish and imposing. A lady rolls up, decked out in expense exercise gear pushing 2 babies and walking a big dog. She says hi to another lady who gets out of a Mercedes SUV. Meanwhile the local fireman show up and order coffees and wait in the same line as four Mexican landscapers.
The more thought I put into the scene the more overwhelmed I become with the neighborhood. It is beautiful and thriving. Its people are the same. Perhaps San Diego is a grand alchemist and its only successful attempt at alchemy resulted in the philosophical, substantial, unusual substance of a neighborhood called Golden Hill. Let the attempt at alchemy stop because something wonderful has ensued.