Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 12
bobthehermitcrab formerly of OB, now lives in Clairemont, guess you could say it is his neighborhood!
A rainy day trip to Wings on Newport (amuse the outta town guests - Seattle/Pasadena - with some local OB color) my oldest grand daughter approaches with an obscenely blue shell embellished with a garish tweedy bird - Grammy, can I get this hermit crab, I will pay with my own money, he can live at your house, here, in San Diego!
NO, of course I say "no" a common character defect, I open my mouth before engaging my brain. What the hell would I want with a hermit crab? But I look at this kid, almost a teenager, on the verge of real babehood and me, now 100 miles away. The light bulb flashes, we can keep in touch, we can email about the crab soon to be known as "bob" so - ok, you can get him, but ditch that blue shell for a "real" one, she does and on that rainy day, bobthehermitcrab leaves the edgy, gritty splendor that is Ocean Beach and comes to the strip mall, tract house haven that is Clairemont.
When I moved here earlier this year, I wanted to live in OB or maybe Pt Loma, Clairemont just wasn't parta the plan but houses in OB/Pt Loma were trashy or scary or too small, too expensive or not receptive to the 100 lb dog that shares housing with me and now bob! So here we are in Clairemont in a condo too good to be true. And Clairemont, well it just is not all that bad..
I grew up in a waterfront town east of Seattle. Bill Gates, et.al, have turned that small haven into a waterfront art gallery infested, chi, chi wonderland and you need to drive to a town 10 miles away to buy socks or underwear - in Clairemont commerce that sustains real life is all around us, everywhere, I have never seen so many everyday life stores all, practically within walking distance. And the people, they are all smiling!! In the Vons, the Pet Store, the key place, all are smiling. I know all the guys in Home Depot from helpful and happy encounters. I can see the sunset from my dining room, the bay view is a 2 minute drive, the off leash park??? where else an off leash park with an almost 200 degree ocean/bay/skyline view like Cadman ?
My neighbors in this tiny complex all seem to know each other, look out for each other, notice cars and wanderers that do not belong and actually approach with a "do you live here? may I help you"? I was welcomed with goodies, I awoke on Valentines Day to find a little bag of heart shape candies on my doorknob and everything I want, everything I need is less than 8 miles in any direction. La Jolla in the morning, downtown in the afternoon, Sunset Cliffs at sunset all easy drives and then back to Clairemont, safe and comfortable by a real fire with the big dog, bobthehermitcrab and another email from the kid detailing the web site she has set up for the care and nurturing of "bob" (one section: "bob the crab in puberty"- she adds, if he lives that long) and how we can blog each other re: his progress. From a six figure corporate controller to a cyberspace grammy in the suburbs - I rush too quickly to judgment, Clairemont is teaching me once again to remember the Stones profound epiphany - we may not always get what we want but in Clairemont I just ended up getting everything I need and I like that. Clairemont not just Bob's but-my now neighborhood too where I am cherishing the lesson that somehow took a junk store hermit crab and the friendly, happy, down to earth folks in Clairemont to help me see.