Walter Mencken 7 p.m., Dec. 10
Don’t be scared, the extraterrestrials in our neighborhood are friendly. This was written on the folded up paper on the sidewalk outside my apartment on Kansas Street in North Park. I thought a neighbor dropped it on the walk by mistake. Then I took a walk and saw the folded up papers all along the sidewalk up and down the street, not at people’s doorways but out on the sidewalk. I’m glad to hear their friendly.
I walk down Kansas and took at the palms sway and know which way the winds blowin. I continue to the corner of 30th and Adams by the Kadan bar and the bus stops where Jill and Mike hang out every day, all day. They have a home but spend their days just hanging out at the corner, smoking cigarettes, reading books and keeping up with the local gossip. Jill got jumped a few months ago and had quite a lump on her head; I think she was already missing her teeth. Today she announced as she left the local fiesta market that she had baloney and bread and that’s it. I came out later with a couple of hard boiled eggs for her and Mike.
The Antique Row restauraunt has its usual long line of customers waiting to get in. The police seem to like it there as well. A few of our antique stores have closed down recently but Fred and his classic furniture which is out on the sidewalk daily seems to be doing quite well. As I took my afternoon nap I lay in bed listening to the outdoor Latino music playing for the whole neighborhood to hear as my neighbors washed their cars. Then the pick-up truck full of vegetables for sale came down the street with great offers for tomatoes, avocados, bananas, watermelons and much more. I lay peacefully on my bed imagining that I was in another country. The bell started ringing as the little cart was pushed down the street full of popsicles and ice cream. It was now time to go to Tony’s, the best price for a great haircut in San Diego,$5.00!Tony’s is a little farther down Adams past the post office and our local coffee shop LeStats. Tony goes on and on as she cuts my hair about customers sexually harassing her, or an offended customer asking her to take down her picture on the mirror of a great hairstyle with the model covering her naked breasts with her hands. As I leave Tony lets me know the haircut prices are going up to $7.00, I’ll paint the sign for you I tell her. I drive by the Adams Ave Community Relations center set up by the police. I’ve been calling them about my downstairs neighbor Joe who continually blasts his music especially when he’s not home. Joe doesn’t seem to like anybody and hasn’t had a visitor to his apartment in years and goes out at all kinds of strange hours in the night. We would all like the music turned down but he’s scary enough to keep us from filing an official complaint. Tonight is the famous Ray at Night Art Exhibition just off of University at Ray. All the art galleries are open at night and hundreds of people come to enjoy the music, food and drink and especially the beautiful art from many local artists. It’s an exciting time once a month for the whole community. As I travel down 30th I know I am in the coffee mecca of San Diego. We have so many coffee shops with such character that even Starbucks is having trouble competing. Claire de Lune has the great entertainment although I do miss Justa Cuppa Coffee which used to be open all night always full of entertainment. It now has a New Orleans style storefront . a great facelift at the Urban Solace. . The local artists always keep the walls very interesting in all the coffee shops. Its starting to feel like a little New York City since the Rite Aid and the Aztec Bowling alley got torn down on 30th and replaced with many many condominiums. We see more and more people of many cultures on the sidewalks. The arabs seem to be running the liquor stores and 99cent stores as well as our local casino on El Cajon. I see them taking turns working at each others shops and it feels like one big family. The only time I really do a lot of shopping each year is at the Adams Avenue street fairs. We now have so many bands playing I can listen to them twelve hours a day for two days and the kids can enjoy the rides at the same time. I now pick up my friend Chilino on Texas Street to go paint a bedroom. He says that an employee at the Taco shop on University got shot and killed. He walked up on it and is still pretty freaked out by all the blood. These tragic occurrences are few and far between. Just across the street is our beautiful park on Utah with soccer, baseball, karate, AA meetings, shuffleboard and more. The energy is lively and supportive of one another, there’s always a smiling face and someone to talk to. The art and music and people keeps increasing and so does the fun. I wish they would have kept our bowling alley, it was a landmark but all they kept was the sign now in front of the new condominiums.