I try to live my life in accordance with the famous quote attributed to Walt Whitman: "Be curious, not judgmental."
On a recent visit to Balboa Park, camera in hand, I came across a plethora of interesting characters. I found myself extremely curious and tried my best not to be judgmental.
I spent thirty minutes talking to a man who wholeheartedly believes he is one of the prophets described in the book of Revelation. He told me that he is regularly visited by Jesus Christ himself, and has been commanded to give up all his worldly possessions and spend his days reading scripture verses at the top of his lungs to random Balboa Park visitors.
On the other end of the spectrum, I spoke at length with a man who refers to himself as Jay, the Asshole Atheist. He belongs to an atheist group that sets up a booth with a large banner near the Botanical Building that reads "Ask an Atheist." The group engages in lively discussion with passersby. He had a terrific sense of sarcasm. We talked about whether he feared death and his response was, “I’m just pissed that the party will continue without me.”
Apart from those two, I also spied a wedding party taking photos at the Organ Pavilion. The brides dress is stunning. I especially appreciate that she allowed her bridesmaids to pick the style of their dresses as long as they remained in the blue/gray family.
Near the Prado I spoke to a librarian, a San Diego native, who currently resides in Boston. She got her first tattoo at 18. "I have been collecting them ever since," she told me with a laugh. Her favorite tattoo is on her arm. It's a Lord of the Rings tattoo written in Elven script.
Lastly I spoke to an older man who was accompanied by three Chihuahuas dressed in elaborate costumes complete with bedazzled goggles. His wife handmade each outfit and plans to launch a doggy clothing website where she will sell and create custom dog couture.
Of all the places to spend the day in San Diego, Balboa Park is among my favorites.