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

P.B. Underground

Under the Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach
Under the Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach

Author: John Campbell

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach

Age: 26

Occupation: Reporter

Everyone, even my friend from Ohio, knows that P.B. is full of douchebags. So when I said I was going to move to the beach, I ­didn’t have a lot of support from my ­homies.

There ­wasn’t a lot of overt protest, though, either, come to think of it.

Maybe ­that’s because I was living in Mira Mesa at the time and starting to dissolve into that ­neighborhood’s monochromatic sprawl. The bulk of my friends — the too-cool O.B. kids, the way-too-cool North Park kids — mostly just said “Oh, P.B. huh?” and swallowed their ­ridicule.

But, of course, P.B. is filled with douchebags — even the douchebags probably ­wouldn’t dispute ­that.

For the first few weeks I felt like I was awash in a sea of beach cruisers and tribal tattoos. I felt, inexplicably, like I should pull my socks up to mid-calf and get my T-shirts embroidered. Even in my slightly grittier corner of this town, Grand Avenue and Lamont, where we actually have rats in our trees, it all felt boring and predictable. Until this one ­night.

­I’d just come from a ­friend’s place in O.B. when I stopped for cigarettes at the mini-mart next door to my humble abode. The girl in front of me was my age, about 23, with a sheer red dress and pretty, in a certain way. She was confidently informing the clerk that, no, they must have a ­restroom.

Clerk: “No we ­don’t, ­sorry.”

Girl: “Well, where do you ­go?”

Clerk: “We have a bathroom, but ­we’re not allowed to let customers use ­it.”

Girl: “That ­doesn’t make ­sense.”

Uncomfortable ­silence.

Clerk: “I ­don’t know what to tell ­you.”

Girl: ­“Can’t I just use it for a ­minute?”

Clerk: ­“I’m sorry, I really ­can’t.”

It went on like this for a bit, but eventually she wandered out. The clerk shook his head; he looked tired. I bought some ­cigarettes.

In the alley behind the store, I saw the girl in the red dress poking around in corners, but ­they’re all sufficiently well-lit to discourage things like ­that.

Gregarious by nature, I asked if she still had to pee, or whatever. She said yes and, gentlemanly as always, I offered up the service of my ­restroom.

­“It’s just around the corner,” I said. She was very, very ­drunk.

We walked up the path to my apartment and I showed her the bathroom. She let out a satisfied sigh and thanked me cheerfully as she ­exited.

She was your typical P.B. girl, I guess. Her clothes were expensive, her shoes uncomfortable, her hair highly processed. My roommates had a few friends over, and although I was prepared for the typically vacuous conversation ­that’s common ’round these parts, we invited her to stick around for a ­beer.

And ­wouldn’t you know it, the alleyway girl was a talker. She was fun for a while, but it became increasingly clear that she had a big-ass chip on her shoulder and very likely a personality disorder to boot. She made a number of slurring, irrational, and potentially threatening statements. People kept making quizzical faces at me when her back was ­turned.

Any urge I might have had to get her number quickly evaporated as she informed us, very loudly, how rich she was, and more specifically, how much richer she was than us. Her dad owned some kind of auto dealership and a rug outlet or ­something.

My friends and I ­don’t take well to people like this, and I have to admit we egged her on. We eventually goaded her into burning a 20-dollar bill. But to further demonstrate her contempt for valuable things, she produced an expensive cell phone, the flip kind, and broke it in half. It was impressive, actually — she ­wasn’t a big girl. She then heaved the pieces onto our ­neighbor’s ­roof.

The cell phone, at least two years later. Just so you know I'm not a liar.

As I ushered her out the door, I felt a twinge of guilt, sending her out alone. It was at least 3 a.m. at this point, and crazy as she was, she was also very drunk and… I just figured I should escort her to wherever she was ­headed.

­She’d mentioned earlier that she had wandered away from a party nearby. I remembered this because she underscored, repeatedly, how much cooler that party was, when compared to the gathering of poor people at my ­place.

She was sure that her party of origin was close by. Along the way she began to display what I would describe magnanimously as moderate psychosis. She was alternately grateful for my help, furious for getting her lost, and even more furious for making her leave the party. The one at my house. The lame one with all the poor ­people.

She also clearly had no idea where she was going. ­She’d lead us a few blocks, assuring me that the place was just around the corner, and then ­we’d turn the other direction, with the same assurances. We walked around many, many corners. None of this was unexpected; she was drunk, and I was drunk, and she was lost, so I was ­too.

After walking roughly in circles for 20 or 30 minutes, and while still within earshot of my own house, she grabbed my ­elbow.

“I think this is it…”, she said, nodding. “Mm hmm. I think this is it…” She pointed. “There it ­is!”

Her pace quickened, and she took my arm, heading toward a building that was clearly an ­orthodontist’s office. The sign said so. I tried to correct ­her.

“Jazell…” (I swear to God her name was Jazell). “Jazell,” I said, ­“that’s an ­orthodontist’s ­office.”

She shook her head. “Nope, come ­on.”

I was skeptical, but I followed her up a flight of stairs to the upper floor of a squat office building. The names of several orthodontists and their suite numbers were posted on the wall. I decided not to fight it; Jazell rang the ­bell.

I ­didn’t really expect anyone to open, but I began to realize, standing there, that I looked very much like a ­rapist.

Here I was, tromping around with an obviously inebriated girl in a diminutive red dress. Also, given her periodic rage at me for “getting her lost,” there was really no predicting what she might say to the boyfriend/husband/pimp who might eventually open the door. Furthermore, who throws a f__king party at an ­orthodontists’ office? Do orthodontists throw ­parties?

I debated whether I should just leave her on the landing, trusting that ­she’d get the door open somehow (strong hands!), but before I could turn tail, the handle rattled and the door opened a crack. It was held in place by one of those New York–style chain ­locks.

Club music poured out of the space in the door. I could see a whole bunch of people inside, as well as some kind of laser light show. Also, and I swear to God ­I’m not making this up, there were fog machines. F*king fog machines. In the ­orthodontist’s office. ­I’m really not making this ­up.

A guy flicked the chain dismissively and Jazell let herself in. Without so much as a glance at me, Jazell released my arm, headed toward a back room, and disappeared. I dithered near the ­doorway.

At this point I still ­wasn’t sure if this was the start of the most surreal night ­I’d ever had or just a preamble to a sensational murder. There were a few people on a leather L-shaped couch by the door, and one burly-looking guy invited me to sit. I ­obliged.

The guy, whose name was Chris, handed me a beer and asked me how ­I’d met Jazell. Neither he nor the others seemed the least bit surprised to see me wander in with her. There was something of a pause, as the people gathered on the couch waited for my ­answer.

“Well,” I said, “she had to pee. She was wandering in my alleyway, so I let her use my ­bathroom.”

The gathered crew broke into chuckles and commiserations. Chris smiled and shook his head bemusedly as if to say, “Oh, that Jazell. That wacky Jazell.” He offered me a cigarette, I accepted, and he clapped me on the back. The girl next to me was chewing on a candy necklace and holding a martini. I felt like I had fallen through the P.B. looking ­glass.

On the couch I had an opportunity to assess the nether region ­I’d stumbled ­into.

First of all, there was nary a Hurley cap or a calf-high sock to be seen. There was no beer pong. There were two girls dancing on poles, though, and there was a DJ booth. Not, like, a folding table with ­someone’s little brother spinning records, but a full-on booth. Stacks of vinyl, extensive PA system, disco balls, all of it. One doorway opened on a dark, narrow hallway, and other doorways were blocked off with beaded curtains for who knows what reason. Jazell was nowhere in sight, which was fine by ­me.

Chris seemed to recognize my where-the-f*k-am-I expression, so he took me under his wing and showed me around the place. Everyone was friendly, beautiful, and hip, but not in an irritating way. There were video artists and event promoters, video promoters and event artists, and one chick who was giving away small bags of weed. Just, you know, giving away weed. I mean, why ­wouldn’t ­she?

We played a game of foosball (foosball!), and Chris eventually introduced me to the owner of the place. He was a tour manager for electronic/dub/house something-or-other.

I was identified to all as the “kid who brought Jazell back.” I began to gather that Jazell was not just drunk and unstable, but rather unstable and happened to be drunk tonight. The owner flashed a knowing smile as he shook my hand and thanked me for tending to their wayward, sh*thouse-crazy ­ward.

I ­don’t remember anybody ­else’s name, and I never saw Jazell again — not that night or any other. I hung out in the orthodontist-club for a few hours, but my friends were waiting for me. I took a beer for the road and trundled off home around five, reflecting on judgment, books and covers. And on my new home, Pacific ­Beach.

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

Previous article

Song Without a Name: gone baby gone

Melina León finds horror in an environment usually associated with safety and nurturing.
Next Article

More palm greasers’ help wanted

Tom Sudberry, Peter Cooper give to Barbara Bry
Under the Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach
Under the Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach

Author: John Campbell

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach

Age: 26

Occupation: Reporter

Everyone, even my friend from Ohio, knows that P.B. is full of douchebags. So when I said I was going to move to the beach, I ­didn’t have a lot of support from my ­homies.

There ­wasn’t a lot of overt protest, though, either, come to think of it.

Maybe ­that’s because I was living in Mira Mesa at the time and starting to dissolve into that ­neighborhood’s monochromatic sprawl. The bulk of my friends — the too-cool O.B. kids, the way-too-cool North Park kids — mostly just said “Oh, P.B. huh?” and swallowed their ­ridicule.

But, of course, P.B. is filled with douchebags — even the douchebags probably ­wouldn’t dispute ­that.

For the first few weeks I felt like I was awash in a sea of beach cruisers and tribal tattoos. I felt, inexplicably, like I should pull my socks up to mid-calf and get my T-shirts embroidered. Even in my slightly grittier corner of this town, Grand Avenue and Lamont, where we actually have rats in our trees, it all felt boring and predictable. Until this one ­night.

­I’d just come from a ­friend’s place in O.B. when I stopped for cigarettes at the mini-mart next door to my humble abode. The girl in front of me was my age, about 23, with a sheer red dress and pretty, in a certain way. She was confidently informing the clerk that, no, they must have a ­restroom.

Clerk: “No we ­don’t, ­sorry.”

Girl: “Well, where do you ­go?”

Clerk: “We have a bathroom, but ­we’re not allowed to let customers use ­it.”

Girl: “That ­doesn’t make ­sense.”

Uncomfortable ­silence.

Clerk: “I ­don’t know what to tell ­you.”

Girl: ­“Can’t I just use it for a ­minute?”

Clerk: ­“I’m sorry, I really ­can’t.”

It went on like this for a bit, but eventually she wandered out. The clerk shook his head; he looked tired. I bought some ­cigarettes.

In the alley behind the store, I saw the girl in the red dress poking around in corners, but ­they’re all sufficiently well-lit to discourage things like ­that.

Gregarious by nature, I asked if she still had to pee, or whatever. She said yes and, gentlemanly as always, I offered up the service of my ­restroom.

­“It’s just around the corner,” I said. She was very, very ­drunk.

We walked up the path to my apartment and I showed her the bathroom. She let out a satisfied sigh and thanked me cheerfully as she ­exited.

She was your typical P.B. girl, I guess. Her clothes were expensive, her shoes uncomfortable, her hair highly processed. My roommates had a few friends over, and although I was prepared for the typically vacuous conversation ­that’s common ’round these parts, we invited her to stick around for a ­beer.

And ­wouldn’t you know it, the alleyway girl was a talker. She was fun for a while, but it became increasingly clear that she had a big-ass chip on her shoulder and very likely a personality disorder to boot. She made a number of slurring, irrational, and potentially threatening statements. People kept making quizzical faces at me when her back was ­turned.

Any urge I might have had to get her number quickly evaporated as she informed us, very loudly, how rich she was, and more specifically, how much richer she was than us. Her dad owned some kind of auto dealership and a rug outlet or ­something.

My friends and I ­don’t take well to people like this, and I have to admit we egged her on. We eventually goaded her into burning a 20-dollar bill. But to further demonstrate her contempt for valuable things, she produced an expensive cell phone, the flip kind, and broke it in half. It was impressive, actually — she ­wasn’t a big girl. She then heaved the pieces onto our ­neighbor’s ­roof.

The cell phone, at least two years later. Just so you know I'm not a liar.

As I ushered her out the door, I felt a twinge of guilt, sending her out alone. It was at least 3 a.m. at this point, and crazy as she was, she was also very drunk and… I just figured I should escort her to wherever she was ­headed.

­She’d mentioned earlier that she had wandered away from a party nearby. I remembered this because she underscored, repeatedly, how much cooler that party was, when compared to the gathering of poor people at my ­place.

She was sure that her party of origin was close by. Along the way she began to display what I would describe magnanimously as moderate psychosis. She was alternately grateful for my help, furious for getting her lost, and even more furious for making her leave the party. The one at my house. The lame one with all the poor ­people.

She also clearly had no idea where she was going. ­She’d lead us a few blocks, assuring me that the place was just around the corner, and then ­we’d turn the other direction, with the same assurances. We walked around many, many corners. None of this was unexpected; she was drunk, and I was drunk, and she was lost, so I was ­too.

After walking roughly in circles for 20 or 30 minutes, and while still within earshot of my own house, she grabbed my ­elbow.

“I think this is it…”, she said, nodding. “Mm hmm. I think this is it…” She pointed. “There it ­is!”

Her pace quickened, and she took my arm, heading toward a building that was clearly an ­orthodontist’s office. The sign said so. I tried to correct ­her.

“Jazell…” (I swear to God her name was Jazell). “Jazell,” I said, ­“that’s an ­orthodontist’s ­office.”

She shook her head. “Nope, come ­on.”

I was skeptical, but I followed her up a flight of stairs to the upper floor of a squat office building. The names of several orthodontists and their suite numbers were posted on the wall. I decided not to fight it; Jazell rang the ­bell.

I ­didn’t really expect anyone to open, but I began to realize, standing there, that I looked very much like a ­rapist.

Here I was, tromping around with an obviously inebriated girl in a diminutive red dress. Also, given her periodic rage at me for “getting her lost,” there was really no predicting what she might say to the boyfriend/husband/pimp who might eventually open the door. Furthermore, who throws a f__king party at an ­orthodontists’ office? Do orthodontists throw ­parties?

I debated whether I should just leave her on the landing, trusting that ­she’d get the door open somehow (strong hands!), but before I could turn tail, the handle rattled and the door opened a crack. It was held in place by one of those New York–style chain ­locks.

Club music poured out of the space in the door. I could see a whole bunch of people inside, as well as some kind of laser light show. Also, and I swear to God ­I’m not making this up, there were fog machines. F*king fog machines. In the ­orthodontist’s office. ­I’m really not making this ­up.

A guy flicked the chain dismissively and Jazell let herself in. Without so much as a glance at me, Jazell released my arm, headed toward a back room, and disappeared. I dithered near the ­doorway.

At this point I still ­wasn’t sure if this was the start of the most surreal night ­I’d ever had or just a preamble to a sensational murder. There were a few people on a leather L-shaped couch by the door, and one burly-looking guy invited me to sit. I ­obliged.

The guy, whose name was Chris, handed me a beer and asked me how ­I’d met Jazell. Neither he nor the others seemed the least bit surprised to see me wander in with her. There was something of a pause, as the people gathered on the couch waited for my ­answer.

“Well,” I said, “she had to pee. She was wandering in my alleyway, so I let her use my ­bathroom.”

The gathered crew broke into chuckles and commiserations. Chris smiled and shook his head bemusedly as if to say, “Oh, that Jazell. That wacky Jazell.” He offered me a cigarette, I accepted, and he clapped me on the back. The girl next to me was chewing on a candy necklace and holding a martini. I felt like I had fallen through the P.B. looking ­glass.

On the couch I had an opportunity to assess the nether region ­I’d stumbled ­into.

First of all, there was nary a Hurley cap or a calf-high sock to be seen. There was no beer pong. There were two girls dancing on poles, though, and there was a DJ booth. Not, like, a folding table with ­someone’s little brother spinning records, but a full-on booth. Stacks of vinyl, extensive PA system, disco balls, all of it. One doorway opened on a dark, narrow hallway, and other doorways were blocked off with beaded curtains for who knows what reason. Jazell was nowhere in sight, which was fine by ­me.

Chris seemed to recognize my where-the-f*k-am-I expression, so he took me under his wing and showed me around the place. Everyone was friendly, beautiful, and hip, but not in an irritating way. There were video artists and event promoters, video promoters and event artists, and one chick who was giving away small bags of weed. Just, you know, giving away weed. I mean, why ­wouldn’t ­she?

We played a game of foosball (foosball!), and Chris eventually introduced me to the owner of the place. He was a tour manager for electronic/dub/house something-or-other.

I was identified to all as the “kid who brought Jazell back.” I began to gather that Jazell was not just drunk and unstable, but rather unstable and happened to be drunk tonight. The owner flashed a knowing smile as he shook my hand and thanked me for tending to their wayward, sh*thouse-crazy ­ward.

I ­don’t remember anybody ­else’s name, and I never saw Jazell again — not that night or any other. I hung out in the orthodontist-club for a few hours, but my friends were waiting for me. I took a beer for the road and trundled off home around five, reflecting on judgment, books and covers. And on my new home, Pacific ­Beach.

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

Will San Diego survive a fall without classical music?

Just as symphony, Mainly Mozart, La Jolla Music Society were getting stronger
Next Article

More on Orange County vs. Del Mar fair money

What Ed Bedford thinks of Governor Newsom
Comments
1

Holy (insert epitaph)! First I thought I had written a winner. Then I read Rangell's and refriedG's and thought, "dang, they should win." And then I read this. Perhaps it is because it is late and I have partook...lol..of the grape. But perhaps not. I love your writing style. And who can deny the subject was on topic and on task. Well done. If I lose to you, I'll still smile (not as much as if I win, but well, you know :). Best, Lisa a/k/a "lallaw"

April 26, 2009

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