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San Diegans who stay on the I-5

Stories Tim Brookes wrote for the Reader

As we pull away from San Diego, 23 people are in the upper-deck car I’ve picked at random, 21 of them Caucasian. No children, no old people, no shabbily dressed, no unfashionable amounts or styles of hair, no tattoos, no men in undershirts or women in lime-green polyester, no lunch pails, prison T-shirts. - Image by Dave Allen
As we pull away from San Diego, 23 people are in the upper-deck car I’ve picked at random, 21 of them Caucasian. No children, no old people, no shabbily dressed, no unfashionable amounts or styles of hair, no tattoos, no men in undershirts or women in lime-green polyester, no lunch pails, prison T-shirts.
  • The freeway is nobody's home

  • We pass the merge, the infamous junction of I-5 and 805, and paradoxically the traffic slows down even heading south, where four lanes become eight, as we all change lanes and get our bearings. Suddenly only six other vehicles are in sight. “There’s a zone in here where you don’t ever want to go more than five miles an hour over the speed limit, from here down to Pacific Beach. If you see someone going really fast through here, you’ll often see them pulled over just past Sea World.” (Sept. 12, 1996)
Michael Welch, one of the premier asthma physicians in the country.
  • Breathless

  • Six months later she started attending yoga and meditation classes at the Vogel Institute in San Diego. “Almost immediately I noticed a difference. I could stop an attack in the middle.” While arguing with her daughter, “I’m fighting for air, and she got really scared, and she’s freaking out, which helps (the asthmaj escalate even more. Right in the middle of it I was able to relax and change my breathing," (May 16, 1996)
Noni Rabbani bowls. A bowler may bowl only six deliveries (called an “over”) from one end before yielding to a different bowler.
  • San Diego cricketers in exile

  • Practice begins at 5:30 SDCC time (that is, about 5:50) on Wednesday evening. Having arrived in my cricket whites, determined to do things properly, I find that (a) the other players practice in shorts or sweats of all colors and (b) it’s distinctly nippy. It’s warmer than this in Vermont. It’s warmer than this in England, dammit. I haven’t brought my white cable-knit sweater, and I put on a grey sweatshirt, feeling vaguely illegitimate. (Sept. 14, 1995)
Charles Bess: “I feel healthy. I’ve been healthy all my life, so far. Just of late I’ve had this little heart congestion.”
  • Grief is like carbon monoxide

  • To some of the Pentecostal groups, Geoff said, a major illness would be a sign not of simple bad luck, overwork, or God testing one’s faith, but of the activity of Satan. What’s more, other members of the congregation might see the cancer as a sign of sin. He quoted me John 9, in which the disciples ask if the man blind from birth is being punished for the sins of his parents. (May 25, 1995)
  • A Ben and Jerry's ice cream cake comes to mind

  • I've been married three times. My first and third were both happy, and startlingly alike. Both took place within a few miles of each other, on the same stretch of shoreline on Lake Champlain in Vermont. Both took place in summer, both had wonderful food, live music, strange in-laws, good friends. My second wedding was unhappy in its own way. (June 1, 2006)
Chris Ball - “I found a freedom in this country. You were judged on what you could do — not who you were or what you represented or who your parents were."
  • The English ex-pats living in San Diego

  • Wendy Campana, an American who is engaged to an English resident of San Diego, says, laughing, “They avoid each other. They live in fear of running into someone whose accent they can’t stand." Or, as Russell Baker recently put it during one of his introductions to Masterpiece Theatre, “Every time an Englishman opens his mouth, another Englishman despises him.” (April 22, 1999)
  • Guitar: An American Life

  • Take the story about the guitarist who played one of the very first gigs to be broadcast over the radio and was promptly tracked down by his wife (and a patrolman on nearby traffic duty) and arrested for abandonment and failure to pay child support. How could he not have known that he was doing something so stupid? (June 2, 2005)
S.D. Union, Oct. 30, 1991. Denise, Josh, and Jim Wade. The Wades begged their daughter to tell them, but the doctor refused to let them question or even talk to her.
  • The memory wars

  • The child was now saying that her father did it, and the grand jury was able to go back and prove absolutely, conclusively, that the father did not do it. Even so, Child Protective Services didn’t want to give the child back, and the DA refused to lift the court order forbidding contact with her father. They said, ‘Now she’s accused her father, and even if he didn’t do it before, he’ll do it now. He’s going to have all this rage...’ etc., etc. (Aug. 20, 1998)
Sledd. They tried Sled Dog, then Sled, then Mike added another d to make it a little more unusual.
  • Sledd In the canyon of envy

  • “That’s the party we threw for Hammer when he came out of jail. I raised money for donations for his legal fund.” Nemesis also played at the annual Hell’s Angels party back at the end of March 1997, Dino says. “One of the guys in the band thought he saw Peter Fonda there.” (Feb. 19, 1998)
Garber on sauna job. A good day would be one spent “working on steam,” that is, installing or repairing an electric sauna, which would be clean work, requiring less running around.
  • A thinking man's plumber

  • Steve is under the frog’s ass at the bottom of the coal mine. This is where the phrase “blue-collar job” came from; it was always the working stiff who got stuck with the dirty job that required tough clothing of a color that wouldn’t show dirt. This is a profession of getting dirty, wet, smelly, and sweaty, of skinning knuckles against hardware. (June 26, 1997)

Tim Brookes, born and raised in England, living in Vermont, founded Writers Without Borders and the Endangered Alphabets Project. Brookes has been an essayist for NPR. He wrote for the Reader in the 1990s and 2000s.

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As we pull away from San Diego, 23 people are in the upper-deck car I’ve picked at random, 21 of them Caucasian. No children, no old people, no shabbily dressed, no unfashionable amounts or styles of hair, no tattoos, no men in undershirts or women in lime-green polyester, no lunch pails, prison T-shirts. - Image by Dave Allen
As we pull away from San Diego, 23 people are in the upper-deck car I’ve picked at random, 21 of them Caucasian. No children, no old people, no shabbily dressed, no unfashionable amounts or styles of hair, no tattoos, no men in undershirts or women in lime-green polyester, no lunch pails, prison T-shirts.
  • The freeway is nobody's home

  • We pass the merge, the infamous junction of I-5 and 805, and paradoxically the traffic slows down even heading south, where four lanes become eight, as we all change lanes and get our bearings. Suddenly only six other vehicles are in sight. “There’s a zone in here where you don’t ever want to go more than five miles an hour over the speed limit, from here down to Pacific Beach. If you see someone going really fast through here, you’ll often see them pulled over just past Sea World.” (Sept. 12, 1996)
Michael Welch, one of the premier asthma physicians in the country.
  • Breathless

  • Six months later she started attending yoga and meditation classes at the Vogel Institute in San Diego. “Almost immediately I noticed a difference. I could stop an attack in the middle.” While arguing with her daughter, “I’m fighting for air, and she got really scared, and she’s freaking out, which helps (the asthmaj escalate even more. Right in the middle of it I was able to relax and change my breathing," (May 16, 1996)
Noni Rabbani bowls. A bowler may bowl only six deliveries (called an “over”) from one end before yielding to a different bowler.
  • San Diego cricketers in exile

  • Practice begins at 5:30 SDCC time (that is, about 5:50) on Wednesday evening. Having arrived in my cricket whites, determined to do things properly, I find that (a) the other players practice in shorts or sweats of all colors and (b) it’s distinctly nippy. It’s warmer than this in Vermont. It’s warmer than this in England, dammit. I haven’t brought my white cable-knit sweater, and I put on a grey sweatshirt, feeling vaguely illegitimate. (Sept. 14, 1995)
Charles Bess: “I feel healthy. I’ve been healthy all my life, so far. Just of late I’ve had this little heart congestion.”
  • Grief is like carbon monoxide

  • To some of the Pentecostal groups, Geoff said, a major illness would be a sign not of simple bad luck, overwork, or God testing one’s faith, but of the activity of Satan. What’s more, other members of the congregation might see the cancer as a sign of sin. He quoted me John 9, in which the disciples ask if the man blind from birth is being punished for the sins of his parents. (May 25, 1995)
  • A Ben and Jerry's ice cream cake comes to mind

  • I've been married three times. My first and third were both happy, and startlingly alike. Both took place within a few miles of each other, on the same stretch of shoreline on Lake Champlain in Vermont. Both took place in summer, both had wonderful food, live music, strange in-laws, good friends. My second wedding was unhappy in its own way. (June 1, 2006)
Chris Ball - “I found a freedom in this country. You were judged on what you could do — not who you were or what you represented or who your parents were."
  • The English ex-pats living in San Diego

  • Wendy Campana, an American who is engaged to an English resident of San Diego, says, laughing, “They avoid each other. They live in fear of running into someone whose accent they can’t stand." Or, as Russell Baker recently put it during one of his introductions to Masterpiece Theatre, “Every time an Englishman opens his mouth, another Englishman despises him.” (April 22, 1999)
  • Guitar: An American Life

  • Take the story about the guitarist who played one of the very first gigs to be broadcast over the radio and was promptly tracked down by his wife (and a patrolman on nearby traffic duty) and arrested for abandonment and failure to pay child support. How could he not have known that he was doing something so stupid? (June 2, 2005)
S.D. Union, Oct. 30, 1991. Denise, Josh, and Jim Wade. The Wades begged their daughter to tell them, but the doctor refused to let them question or even talk to her.
  • The memory wars

  • The child was now saying that her father did it, and the grand jury was able to go back and prove absolutely, conclusively, that the father did not do it. Even so, Child Protective Services didn’t want to give the child back, and the DA refused to lift the court order forbidding contact with her father. They said, ‘Now she’s accused her father, and even if he didn’t do it before, he’ll do it now. He’s going to have all this rage...’ etc., etc. (Aug. 20, 1998)
Sledd. They tried Sled Dog, then Sled, then Mike added another d to make it a little more unusual.
  • Sledd In the canyon of envy

  • “That’s the party we threw for Hammer when he came out of jail. I raised money for donations for his legal fund.” Nemesis also played at the annual Hell’s Angels party back at the end of March 1997, Dino says. “One of the guys in the band thought he saw Peter Fonda there.” (Feb. 19, 1998)
Garber on sauna job. A good day would be one spent “working on steam,” that is, installing or repairing an electric sauna, which would be clean work, requiring less running around.
  • A thinking man's plumber

  • Steve is under the frog’s ass at the bottom of the coal mine. This is where the phrase “blue-collar job” came from; it was always the working stiff who got stuck with the dirty job that required tough clothing of a color that wouldn’t show dirt. This is a profession of getting dirty, wet, smelly, and sweaty, of skinning knuckles against hardware. (June 26, 1997)

Tim Brookes, born and raised in England, living in Vermont, founded Writers Without Borders and the Endangered Alphabets Project. Brookes has been an essayist for NPR. He wrote for the Reader in the 1990s and 2000s.

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