The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Sunday, March 2, 2008

In Search of Sunrise

Or more accurately, sunlight. I have a continual quest on sunny days to find a clean, well-sun-lighted place to enjoy the warmth and general sense of well-being that only the sun can provide--along with a tasty beverage and possibly a small bit to eat. In San Diego, we have a lot of sunny days. This seems like a very easy task.

However, it seems that the bar/coffee shops/restaurant owners of San Diego have concocted a conspiracy (I'll call it THE PLAN here for simplicity's sake) to situate their establishments in such a way that direct sunlight never actually reaches their outdoor patios. Whether it is a northeast facing deck or ridiculous awnings, these potentially pleasant places of respite are perpetually in the shade. In my extremely researched and objective estimation, at least 95% of places with outdoor seating in San Diego are participating in THE PLAN.

There are a few notable exceptions to THE PLAN (all of which I cannot list). Two of the consistently good sun spots are British pubs: Shakespeare's in Mission Hills and The Princess Pub in Little Italy (Two other notables: Red's coffee shop in Point Loma has a back patio that faces an unseemly parking lot yet gets beautiful sun. And for a more pleasant coffee shop view to accompany your sun, try Cafe Carpe Diem in Banker's Hill). Perhaps it is the fact that these are British establishments that explain why their owners do not conform to THE PLAN. Britain does seem to get significantly less sun than we do in Southern California, so maybe the owners of these pubs realize the vital aspect that direct sunlight fulfills in our lives. Like preventing rickets or suicide.

Seriously, in this day and age of either the extreme of leatherneck tanning or of vampire-fear-of-sun, the benefits and simple pleasures of that golden orb go largely unnoticed. Our good friend gets vilified as the accomplice of the shallow or source of cancer-causing mutations. But there is nothing like the wrapping of warmth and glowing sense of well-being one can attain while sipping an appropriate beverage, book in hand, basking in those golden rays. It's pure joy.

Feeling the sun after an eon of storm clouds and marine layer is like giving blood to an anemic. Suddenly, you have energy, zest for life. Things taste better, look better, feel better, sound better, smell better when swathed in sunlight.

Yet throughout San Diego are fine places of mastication, imbibition, and comraderie that deny us this simple pleasure. Are they hoping that their participation in THE PLAN will cause us to spend more money there because we have to drink more to feel happy? Are they in cahoots with clothing stores that are trying to clear their overstock of winter sweaters? Are they just sadists that get some sort of twisted pleasure from creating wild and delightful hopes at the sight of outdoor seating on a gorgeous day only to dash them when we are exposed to the extreme chill of a shaded dining area?

Whatever the cause, this tyranny of THE PLAN must. stop. now. We must fight for our right to sunlight. Just twenty years ago, 40% of San Diego had sun. Now we are down to a mere 5%. We must fight to preserve those places that serve as altars to the sun sprites. It is no coincidence that the vicious rumor is flying around that the Princess has been bought by a condo company and will be replaced by a tall building with plenty of shaded area; this bastion of the combination of chilled beer and glorious sun is bucking THE PLAN. Of course there are consequences.

People of San Diego--people around the world!--fight back. Seize the day. Seize the sun. Make a note of those places that allow sun to support the growth of your mind, body, and soul. Go to these places. Drink. Eat. Read. Talk. Bask.

Seize the warmth of pure unadulterated joy.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you've documented this conspiracy. You are cute!