Going Back to Ocean Beach

When I first moved to San Diego I was driving west on I-8 when I saw the freeway sign that said Beaches. It didn’t indicate a freeway exit but the place you reached if you just went straight ahead. It was your ultimate destination.

And if you really did continue straight on the 8 until you reached the edge of the continent, you were in Ocean Beach… or OB as it’s called around here.

I once heard a joke.What do you get when you take the J out of job? OB.

It is a haven for beach bums, with the emphasis on bum. But despite the common sight of homeless people, OB is my favorite beach neighborhood.

Its coast is not just a sandy landscape. OB has a long pier. It has tide pools and rocky cliffs that you can stroll atop to see the waves crash and swirl.

It has a downtown with restaurants and shops that do everything from selling surfboards and insurance to car repair. There’s a food co-op and a Catholic school.

The bums? Some of them are drunks. But the good news is the law here recently forbade drinking alcohol on the beach. That’s made the beach a much better place to take kids than it used to be in OB.

My first week in San Diego, I actually applied to rent a house on the beach in OB. But even though I applied wearing jeans, I think the button-down dress shirt put the landlord off. I got a call, saying they didn’t think the location would be a good one for me and my wife.

I suffered discrimination for being perceived square. Would it had helped if I had promised to grow dope?  Should I have sued them for unlawful denial of public accommodations? I may have actually won but they were probably right. OB is a better place to visit than to reside.

On the beach you see some college girls who look amazing. There are older beach chicks with tattoos that are faded and falling. There are also fat people in swim suits.  The Mexicans just go swimming in their clothes.

That day I first saw OB I saw a girl with a dog who was hanging out with a group of slackers with attitude. She wore a T-shirt that said, “Don’t ask me for shit!”

I don’t anything of OB, other than to stay what it is.

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