Ian Pike noon, Dec. 5
It was seven minutes past eleven when I felt like a stranger in my own Pacific Beach neighborhood. I was alone. I was sober. I think I experienced what some refer to as a moment of clarity-- at least in my streaming consciousness. Here's what seemed clear: Nobody's from here-- especially in PB.
Here’s what I mean:
Mike is the name of bartender in PB. He calls himself a local with considerable pride. He has permanently tattooed letters on his arm that confirm his identification with the Pacific Beach area. It says this on his bicep: “PB Rat Dog.” He shares an apartment with three other tattooed guys down the street.
Mike recently said this: "Look at those goddamn Zonies in the jerseys. There should be a law against those f@#!ers coming here. They love the place and the kooks start moving in!" Mike complained mainly about invaders from Arizona, and other states to the east. He said they ruin the community of Pacific Beach-- especially in the summer months. He also called them this: "posers."
Here's the thing: Mike is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he has the faint accent to prove it. Ask him to say “bag”. In fact, BEG him to say “BAG”. I don't think he realizes the difference between the two.
I think it’s safe to say that Mike probably doesn’t realize this either:
The only true natives of San Diego were indigenous people that are now few and far between. Why so few? For at least 12,000 years before our time, there were thousands of dark-skinned native people living here in San Diego until some Europeans (Spanish) arrived and greatly disrupted their way of life. In fact, these Spanish padres (priests) and soldiers essentially made slaves of the San Diego Indians. They spread diseases that decimated their populations and destroyed the ecosystem (--Yes, all of this in sweet, sunny San Diego). The mistreatment of the San Diegan Indians by the Spanish padres was so bad one time the natives rebelled, attacked the mission in Mission Valley, and killed a padre in 1775!
So, in honor of the only original San Diego natives and their evangelical buddies, they have named the local baseball team the “Padres.”
Of course, this is all history. Now the Padres baseball team is supported and sponsored by two of the wealthiest native Indian casinos in the area—Sycuan and Viejas. What about all that exploitation, destruction, and rebellion? Water (though heavily polluted water) under the Coronado Bridge—so to speak-- which is right next to the Padres' new ballpark. It's called Petco Park. The name has nothing to do with the Padres or the city of San Diego. It's named after a huge pet store company that hopes to make some money off the Padres.
Mike loves the Padres. He enjoys talking about the Padres a lot. He wears Padres apparel very often. His moods sometimes depend on the win/loss record of the Padres-- strangers he roots for, mostly from out-of-town themselves, who play a glorified game for a living and don’t know Mike from Adam.
Adam is another guy I know in PB. He’s also a bartender. Though they’re in the same profession and neighborhood, he doesn’t know Mike at all. He doesn’t talk about sports or the Padres. Adam prefers to talk mostly about “poon tang.” Poon tang is the word Adam uses to refer to women—both individuals and groups-- he would like to have sex with. In speaking of poon tang, Adam often goes into detailed descriptions of female body parts. He also calls women’s breasts “jugs.”
San Diego Indians relied on jugs to carry water to and from their villages. Water has always been a crucial resource in a hot and dry climate like San Diego. The Indians must have thought this: ‘The bigger the jugs, the better.’
Adams thinks the same thing. He is not a native of Pacific Beach, or San Diego, or California. Adam is from Beaumont, Texas.
Adam admits that he watches sports but doesn’t really care who wins or loses because he doesn’t gamble on the games. Gambling is illegal. The only place where you can gamble legally in San Diego County is owned by the descendants of the only true natives: Indians. About 200 years ago, ranchers introduced liquor and gambling to San Diego Indians to help them forget that they were being cheated, overworked and underpaid. Now local Indians have turned these vices into so many millions, they have enough to support local sports teams.
Adam also doesn’t care about sports as much as Mike because it involves very little poon tang. Adam lowers his voice when he talks about poon tang because his co-worker is female and he knows this word bothers her. His co-worker’s name is Briana. Adam says that she has nice jugs.
Brianna is a cocktail waitress. She’s been living in PB for almost two years. She’s part Cherokee Indian “or something”, she thinks. She does not care for the Padres, or for gambling. From what I can tell, she doesn’t have an interest in local history either. Brianna does seem to love Pacific Beach. She says she makes over 200 dollars a night in tips. She realizes that showing the top half of her jugs helps her make more money in tips. She also spends a lot of time complaining that most male customers stare at her jugs with reckless abandon. She calls these guys “pigs.”
Briana says there are a lot of pigs in PB, but they are not originally from this area either. Pigs were brought here by Europeans-- so were palm trees. So were diseases, liquor, and gambling-- and baseball!
Briana could care less about baseball, but she cares about Adam. She considers Adam a close friend. Brianna has no idea that Adam talks about her jugs constantly. She also has no idea that Mike talks about her jugs too, but he calls them “knockers.” (I imagine many guys in Pacific Beach have various names for Brianna’s breasts.) Mike has never even met Brianna. He doesn’t know her from Adam.
Unsurprisingly, like Mike, Adam also complains about the invasive flood of vacationers and other recent arrivals to Pacific Beach. Brianna, too, complains about the clueless Zonies and irritating out-of-towners from the lands of the east.
Brianna is from Tucson, Arizona.
I've also noticed this: Briana, Adam, and Mike don't seem to think very highly of people that are much more indigenous to this region than they are. They call them "illegal aliens." Though many of the trendy, tanned and tattooed residents of Pacific Beach would like to forget, we are almost all aliens in this place.