The west-facing exterior wall of the Alibi bar on University Avenue in Hillcrest asks people to consider their eventual and certain death, and to share their desires for the interim. The bartender says they are wiped clean daily. Below are the fruits of two separate visits.
Love is paramount. Love. Figure out what love is. Find a love worth dying for. Find love again. Know love again. Love myself. Be loved. Love and be loved. Be in love. Learn unconditional love. (People do love animals. Swim with sharks. Be an animal rescuer. See an end to dog overbreeding. Become a cat. Help end animal cruelty. Open a home for senior dogs. Open up a cat farm.)
Many don’t want to face the end alone. Marry Janet. Marry Rachel. Marry Matthew. Marry Darin. Marry Kevin. Marry a rich guy. Be the best boyfriend ever. Give someone the world. And confronted by personal extinction, some turn to personal legacy. Get my girlfriend pregnant. Have kids. Make babies. Grow a baby. Be a mom. Be the Dad I never had.
Achievement is another sort of legacy. Leave my mark in this world. Help save the earth. Get my PhD. Not overthink a dream and just jump. Become a doctor. Be a travel nurse. Be a supermodel. The artistic urge appears, though tinged with money. Write a book. Publish a book. Sell my paintings. And some wants are nakedly monetary. Win lottery. Be rich.
Faced with eternity, some turn to the supremely temporal: the politics of the day. Slap Donald Trump. Get Trump out of office. Show people Trump Supporters are not deplorable. Others stay political but think in grander, more enduring terms. End homelessness in San Diego. Start a revolution. Establish communism. Eat the rich. Conquer the world.
People want to go somewhere else. Move to Cali. Travel. Travel to Europe. Go to Paris. Live in Berlin. See the world. See the world from Mt. Everest. Travel the world. Travel the world to have sex. Ah, sex — the spasm of joy and affirmation that pushes the Reaper into the shadows, if only for a moment. Be in an orgy. Suck sum dick. 3 some. F*ck yo bitch. Do you. Anal. Have sex while I skydive. Have sex with Anthony Kedis. (Hello, celebrities! Kiss Drew Barrymore. Kiss Drake. Meet Bernie Sanders. Meet Nikki Minaj. Meet Donald Glover.)
Some address more interior concerns. Fear nothing. Be completely fearless. Know what I want. Become my best self. Be in peace with myself. Have no regrets. Understand. Learn to relax. Forgive. Get my dad.
Some, like Thoreau, want to live before dying. Live. Live my life. Feel fulfilled. Live life to the fullest. Live and kick ass. Live happier. Be happy. Be happy with myself. Be happy and free. Be unconditionally happy. See life as a gift. Others want to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Eat lots of fried chicken. Grow bigger moobs. Drink like a gentleman. Party like a Viking. See Les Miserables. Paraglide. Play like a kid. Poop.