Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Intellectual Delinquents

This last weekend of the month I find myself in Mission Valley, poolside at the Promenade luxury-resort condominiums, across the street from Sears. I’m with my son at the home of my high school friend Dr. Jon Venn, for the past year a professor of psychology at San Diego State. He has extended to me an open invitation to bring my son down from San Marcos for a day of swimming and billiards, if we get to it. We don’t.

My son Geoffrey will be 31 at the end of this summer, and he has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. It has taken two months to get him to leave his apartment, which, aside from the mess, looks the way I imagine Mission Control in Houston might look, with its banks of computers on which he and his friends (along with several other regulars in various countries) will play ongoing role-playing games like Warhammer or World of Warcraft. Except for periodic sorties to Vons or Fry’s, Geoff doesn’t get out much.

We are at one of two pools at the Promenade, and it is a perfect day for it. Small children and attractive college girls provide pleasing scenery, and the condominium grounds are architecturally reminiscent of Spain, as if it were a northern archipelago of Balboa Park. If you live here or a similar place in Mission Valley, you are fortunate. If not, you should immediately seek out more fortunate friends.

After a shower in the gym, we took a dip, and soon my son was resuming his conversation with Jon, a serious-looking, bearded ectomorph with much wit sheathed in sober, genuine interest. Geoffrey had both the doctor and me interested in his phrase “intellectual delinquents,” which I suspect he may have been directing toward me, maybe Jon as well, and just as easily, neither of us. Trying to establish more about his intriguing phrase (which he would reverse to “delinquent intellectuals” or “delinquent intellect”) was rough going, slogging as we were through computer jargon and references to vampires. The two words were close to the phrase Jon and I and some confederates at Carmel High in Mundelein, Illinois, were labeled by the priests and brothers there: hard-core apathetics.

Later in the day, Jon’s wife, Carleen, joined us, an attractive intellectual (with no evidence of the delinquent about her) whom Geoffrey complimented obliquely by telling her she reminded him of certain female members of my old workshop group, when he was a child. This group comprised aspiring science-fiction writers, some of whom have gone on to be quite famous in the field. Carleen indicated that she was indeed an author and currently working on a book on health care, her field at SDSU. Her very presence reassured me that health care in this country need not be hopeless. She had no way of knowing, but being promoted from a leading authority on public health to science-fiction writer was high praise indeed from Geoffrey.

The word bittersweet occurs as I write this, thinking of the afternoon with an old (as old as I am) and abiding friend, his charming wife, and my son with his good soul and troubled mind, the late afternoon light as it only appears in San Diego and in summer, winking on the surface of the pool like molten, burnished coins and reflected onto the palm fronds overhead. At one time, an occasion like this would accompany the presence of some appropriate alcoholic drink; and it is reassuring to know that it occurred to me only in passing and with a brief laugh to myself when someone brought hamburgers and hot dogs down to the barbecue grill in a Crown Royal carton.

At one point Jon said something about how gratifying it can be to have children, and I could tell he was missing his own daughter, grown now, a literature major and living in Canada. He’s a good father. Instead of immediately agreeing with him or saying anything at all, I felt a greasy wave of self-loathing that I had been concerned about my son’s behavior. That he might embarrass me or them? Certainly my friends were far too generous for that, but apparently not me. And I had allowed this shadow into one of those perfect days God is so conservative about handing out.

Of all my suggestions — as bizarre as some of them may have been over the years — as to what to do with your weekends, this may easily be the best. Spend them with your friends and children...yours, if you’ve got ’em, but don’t be fussy.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Bobbi and Mark sleep above the lions in Alpine

Lions Tigers & Bears is not a zoo
Next Article

Mark Dresser’s musicianship cuts through it all

Long-time UCSD professor’s telematics trials

This last weekend of the month I find myself in Mission Valley, poolside at the Promenade luxury-resort condominiums, across the street from Sears. I’m with my son at the home of my high school friend Dr. Jon Venn, for the past year a professor of psychology at San Diego State. He has extended to me an open invitation to bring my son down from San Marcos for a day of swimming and billiards, if we get to it. We don’t.

My son Geoffrey will be 31 at the end of this summer, and he has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. It has taken two months to get him to leave his apartment, which, aside from the mess, looks the way I imagine Mission Control in Houston might look, with its banks of computers on which he and his friends (along with several other regulars in various countries) will play ongoing role-playing games like Warhammer or World of Warcraft. Except for periodic sorties to Vons or Fry’s, Geoff doesn’t get out much.

We are at one of two pools at the Promenade, and it is a perfect day for it. Small children and attractive college girls provide pleasing scenery, and the condominium grounds are architecturally reminiscent of Spain, as if it were a northern archipelago of Balboa Park. If you live here or a similar place in Mission Valley, you are fortunate. If not, you should immediately seek out more fortunate friends.

After a shower in the gym, we took a dip, and soon my son was resuming his conversation with Jon, a serious-looking, bearded ectomorph with much wit sheathed in sober, genuine interest. Geoffrey had both the doctor and me interested in his phrase “intellectual delinquents,” which I suspect he may have been directing toward me, maybe Jon as well, and just as easily, neither of us. Trying to establish more about his intriguing phrase (which he would reverse to “delinquent intellectuals” or “delinquent intellect”) was rough going, slogging as we were through computer jargon and references to vampires. The two words were close to the phrase Jon and I and some confederates at Carmel High in Mundelein, Illinois, were labeled by the priests and brothers there: hard-core apathetics.

Later in the day, Jon’s wife, Carleen, joined us, an attractive intellectual (with no evidence of the delinquent about her) whom Geoffrey complimented obliquely by telling her she reminded him of certain female members of my old workshop group, when he was a child. This group comprised aspiring science-fiction writers, some of whom have gone on to be quite famous in the field. Carleen indicated that she was indeed an author and currently working on a book on health care, her field at SDSU. Her very presence reassured me that health care in this country need not be hopeless. She had no way of knowing, but being promoted from a leading authority on public health to science-fiction writer was high praise indeed from Geoffrey.

The word bittersweet occurs as I write this, thinking of the afternoon with an old (as old as I am) and abiding friend, his charming wife, and my son with his good soul and troubled mind, the late afternoon light as it only appears in San Diego and in summer, winking on the surface of the pool like molten, burnished coins and reflected onto the palm fronds overhead. At one time, an occasion like this would accompany the presence of some appropriate alcoholic drink; and it is reassuring to know that it occurred to me only in passing and with a brief laugh to myself when someone brought hamburgers and hot dogs down to the barbecue grill in a Crown Royal carton.

At one point Jon said something about how gratifying it can be to have children, and I could tell he was missing his own daughter, grown now, a literature major and living in Canada. He’s a good father. Instead of immediately agreeing with him or saying anything at all, I felt a greasy wave of self-loathing that I had been concerned about my son’s behavior. That he might embarrass me or them? Certainly my friends were far too generous for that, but apparently not me. And I had allowed this shadow into one of those perfect days God is so conservative about handing out.

Of all my suggestions — as bizarre as some of them may have been over the years — as to what to do with your weekends, this may easily be the best. Spend them with your friends and children...yours, if you’ve got ’em, but don’t be fussy.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

How to get to the river path from Sports Arena Boulevard

Maybe you shouldn't try
Next Article

Legacy International Center: the inverted cathedral

“Just as folks go to Sea World or the Zoo, it’s just another interesting item that they can come to.”
Comments
1

"poolside at the Promenade luxury-resort condominiums, across the street from Sears."

Love this.

Aug. 29, 2008

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close