The 7 Truths of San Diego

 As any native will tell you, San Diego is a small town. Sure, it's the sixth largest city in the States, but in reality it's nothing but a bitsy little burb playing dress-up.

I say that with all the love in my heart: I adore this city. Love it or not, however, San Diego does have its quirks. So if you know of anyone considering packing up the family truckster and moving southwest, you really owe it to them to explain The Seven Truths of San Diego before they get here. This is especially true if they're from Texas.

(The rest of us will thank you. Even moreso during rush hour.)


1. Oldtimers call it the 20/20 rule: It takes twenty bucks and twenty minutes to get anywhere and do anything.

2. Your friends will move. Make cool new friends in the under-40 set and there's a good shot - no, make that a great shot - that you'll be saying your farewells within five years. (That's partly due to the costs and partly because of the pace - it's an expensive city, perpetually sedated.)

3. Don't count on getting paid the big bucks. The business scene's insulated, nepotistic and competitive: Everyone wants to live here, but you can generally get better and more of everything in Smell-ay - so most of the great-paying work's up there.

4. You'll trade sweat for giggles. You like culture, music, art, design? It's all here, but on a much smaller scale. The Powers That Be must assume San Diegans will drive to the Northern Hellhole for their entertainment - so skip us when it comes to major tour dates. Translation? If you want fun, you'll have to work for it, my friend.

5. We're sleepy. Literally. Maybe it's the salty ocean air, or the gorgeous Pacific light. All I know is most people crash early here: A late night out is midnight, a fact which used to drive my German friends crazy until they finally joined the SD Bandwagon. (They're now total converts.) Oh. One other thing: Call me past 8pm and you're a dead person.

6. You are being watched. An issue not talked about much is the lack of anonymity. Screw someone over (or at all, come to think of it) and people know about it. In our business, for example, we regularly hear about those who don't pay on time or behave like pompous asses. We don't take them on as clients. Also, you will run into people you know everywhere. E-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Consider yourself warned.

7. San Diego is its very own Red State. You may be liberal. All of your friends may be liberal. You may, in your ignorance, assume the times-are-a-changin' and something politically good will finally happen in this corrupt little burrough. But you will be wrong. Because the corrupt little burrough is run by a small handful of corrupt little people. They own the land, the buildings, the city council - probably even you, one way or another. They will pump gazillions into their puppet politicians and do anything to Keep Things the Way They Are. So smile. Back slowly away. Make no sudden movements... and keep voting liberal and having lots of sex. We'll get them eventually.

If this doesn't work, try sending your potential transplants the latest Median-Price for Housing reports. That should be enough to scare anyone away... Not that we're trying to do that. Nooooooooooo.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >