Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tortillas and Traffic

On one outing today I drove ten miles to my son's soon-to-be high school, two miles to the pet store for dog food, down the street for a snack at In and Out, and stopped at two thrift stores in a quest for a new computer keyboard on the way home.  We came in long enough to take our dog, Sydney, out for a potty break, grab dance shoes, and quench thirst from a hot San Diego day.  Then we were off again for a five mile jaunt to the boy's ballroom dance class (believe it or not, they love this class! It's where the girls are.)

Since returning from a two-year escapade in a small town in northern California, it is remarkable how much the definition of a lot of driving has changed for me.  Up there, the ten minute drive to the town that held the only Target department store in the county was worthy of much bitching and moaning on my part. Now, in the spread out geography of million-plus citizenry of San Diego, a ten minute drive is laughable.  How did this town get so spread out?

Here's my ideal: Put every store that I frequent within walking distance of my home.  I go to Sprouts for organic veggies, Trader Joes for sea salt and caramel chocolates, Target for inexpensive pesto sauce, and Pancho Villa for freshly made tortillas, mexican cokes and pico de gallo.  Make the boy's schools across the street, along with the post office, library and an Olympic sized pool because I love to swim.  There must be a short cut for Sydney and I to get to a lovely walk along a river from which I cannot see any billboards or cars.  Throw in a bike ride distance to the beach, and I swear I will never complain again, or attempt to escape from city life with another move to the Pacific Northwest.

The real question here is why didn't the city planners of San Diego ask me where I wanted my favorite stores before they did the planning?  What is wrong with these people that they did not think of my needs and my daily desire for sea salt and caramel chocolates?

Actually, the real question is why does this big city have such lousy public transit?  It would take me over an hour to get to just one of the aforementioned stores if I were traveling via bus and/or trolley.  For such a fine city, why is it such a challenge to get anything done without using a ton of gas and hurting our skies?  Monorails, rapid public transit, anything that would lower our driving time seems like a smart thing to have in a large, sprawling city.  Life is often a puzzle to me.  Maybe someday I will understand the complexities of San Diego--it will probably be on the same day I figure out how to make my own home-made tortillas.

Heather Leigh

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