I have long said that San Diego has “absence of weather.” It is so damned near perfect here that I can’t even feel the air on my skin most times. When my friend Margie relocated from Manhattan to San Diego, I got annoyed with her always posting daily updates on Facebook to remind us all that the weather was “Sunny, 78 degrees, winds light and variable.” I was still living in Manhattan at the time, a prisoner to wool sweaters, fur lined snow boots, and a top coat that didn’t get put away until late May. Margie was posting pedicured beach pics five months into the year while my feet were longing to be free.
Despite the idyllic photos Margie posted month after month, I prefer my weather a little edgier. I love the feeling of the crack of lightening so close I can feel the reverberation and smell the electrified ozone in the air. Counting the seconds between the flash and the thunderous sound, indicating the proximity and likelihood with which one needs to seek cover. Running through the mental checklist, trying to remember where I stashed my “Oh Sh*t! bag” while watching the unpredictable cloud formations as they loom overhead, seeming to say “I could take you out in one swift swipe.” Crazy as it sounds, after about 100 days of straight sunshine, I think I might get a little lack-a-DAZE-ical.
My theory about the perfect weather during my San Diego stay is that the city feels so crowded because EVERYONE is OUTDOORS! Even in Manhattan with 8 million people, you get some peace during the middle of the week. Or at least during the occasional rainstorm. But not in Sunny San Diego. On many mid-week occasions, we all asked the rhetorical question, “Where did all these people come from? Don’t they have JOBS??”
But as my long time friend Reta once told me, “Bloom where you are planted.” And right now, my bare feet are firmly planted…AT THE BEACH, BABY!
By now, we have resorted to sniffing our beers, rolling them around on our tongues while describing mouth feel with words like “chewiness.” We watch each others facial expressions at the first sip, while discussing the virtues of “grapefruit undertones” versus “dark chocolate velvety finish.” We are like a bunch of crazed California wine snobs. I liken it to being a kid who has only tasted tap or mineral water all her life, and then got to visit the Coca-Cola Museum. There is not just Coke, but Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Fanta Orange, Cream Soda, Root Beer….all with an increased alcohol content! It is like Jim says, “It is not unusual to order a flight of beer and find one exceptional beer out of the lot. But here, every beer in the flight is exceptional!”
So today’s post is paired with a selection from Slater’s 50/50. With over 100 beers on tap is a no-brainer. In fact, so much so that we ended up there twice. A little something for every beer taste! (Not to mention they are one of the few places that still has the rapidly dwindling 26th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Casked Belgian Dark Strong Ale.)
But some of us didn’t come for the beer…. (If you are a vegan, you may want to skip this next part.) The “fifty fifty” in Slater’s name comes from the patty on which all their burgers are based. Fifty percent beef, fifty percent BACON! Their slogan is “Excesstasy — noun. The overwhelming excitement felt when indulging in the Slaters 50/50 experience.” Ain’t it the truth!
(I realize this looks bad, but remember — 4 hikes 3 bike rides, and countless loops around the park walking path!)
As I depart San Diego, I am mixed with a dichotomy of emotions, from elation to be escaping the petri dish of the RV Park, to melancholy over leaving the fun and frolic behind. I will miss the excitement of ending every bike or hike excursion with a stop at the brewpub to sample the best of the best.
As I point the Winnie north in I-5, I see the exit sign for Escondido. I rationalize, “Well, I could use a bathroom break. And, well…it IS lunchtime.” I hit the Siri Call Button. “Get directions to Stone Brewery in Escondido….”
“Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chambers of my brain.
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies,
Come to life and fade away:
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.”
~Edgar Allen Poe
This concludes my Five Part Photo-journalistic Series on San Diego…and beer. My original intent was to keep it short on prose in order to get caught up on the blog, but that proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. The further along the series went, the more i wrote. Was it Oscar Wilde that said “If I’d had more time, I’d have written less?” Turns out I enjoy the “journalistic” side best. Go figure. 😉