The Other Side

The Other Side
Tent Camps
San Diego, California
This morning, I got dressed, I wanted to walk the other side of San Diego. I wanted to find a local diner. I wanted to pay homage to Patti Smith, her cup of coffee, her diners, her hotels, her travels, her ghosts and writing in one of the few books I finished reading while I was with Scott \”Year of the Monkey\”. 
I pulled on my jeans, an old t-shirt, and Scott\’s fleece jacket and purposely did not brush my hair or my teeth and started walking towards the other side of town in search of a diner and the places hidden from the tourist\’s eye.

\”Mask Your Face, Not Your Feelings\”
San Diego, California
Soon, I found what I was looking for. Just a few blocks from the hotel. There were the People standing in line with food cards waiting for boxes of groceries. It reminded me of the times Scott would pack our extra food in boxes and load them up in the car and drive us under the freeway passes. It was my job to jump out and lift the boxes out of the trunk while Scott kept the car running in place blocking the \”moving traffic lane\” while I placed the boxes in front of the fabric doors of the tents. Once in a while a sleepy head would peek out from a pile of covers and say \”thank you, god bless\”. I remember feeling those blessings were more sacred than any priest\’s blessing I received.
Walking by the tent camps, this morning, I watched a big attractive brown man with tattoos up and down his arms sweep in front of the tents until there was not a speck of dirt left, leaving the area cleaner than some of the patios of the wealthy I have visited.  I greeted him \”good morning\”, he looked up and greeted me back. Before I lost sight of him, I admired a succulent garden of plants placed in artistic formation lovingly cared for in front of one of the smaller tent homes. 
I wondered at people who think bulldozing encampments is okay.
I walked through glass, pieces of plastic, around shit, and garbage. Not the fault of the \”homeless\”, the fault of a system who determines the schedule of who, when and what areas have garbage pick up, bathrooms and dumping bins. 
My family\’s neighborhood is in an older part of the Sonoma Valley. We haven\’t seen a street cleaner in years, not so, in the affluent areas of town where the paved roads are smooth without potholes and not a piece of debris in sight.
A mile or so later, I found what I was looking for. A local diner that served up food, hearty healthy abundant plates of breakfast we used to order up in Sonoma County.  The kind of places that disappeared with affordable housing decades ago.
Egg Scramble with veggies 
and a huge side of Rosemary Potatoes 
It was so much food, I asked for a take-out box to go. Walking through the old shopping mall, most stores empty or closed, I watched a gull scavenge for scraps from an overflowing garbage can in front of one of the liquor stores. I didn\’t see anything appetizing in there, so I opened the take-out compostable box and left my still warm breakfast for the gull. After setting out the food and giving him space, his mate arrived. 
I watched and listened to their conversation as they shared the food. I\’ve never seen gulls share before or watched a couple. It was the first time, I listened to gulls\’ vocalizations in conversation, so different than the screams they make flying overhead. The sounds moved up and down between them, forming a language of purrs, growls, and hoots. I could only imagine what they were saying to each other. 
Oh, how there are so many worlds within this one.
Gulls eating breakfast from my leftovers


 

Published by As the Road Wanders

I am a writer and a blogger from Northern California

2 thoughts on “The Other Side

  1. I love that you shared your breakfast with the gull couple and also the way you wrote about it. How interesting that they were having a conversation over breakfast. My experience with gulls is with them executing flybys and snatching food from people, then other gulls frantically trying to snatch it away from the original snatcher. I’ve never seen or heard them sharing and enjoying like that!

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  2. Cynthia, Yes, this behavior surprised me as well. I did do a little reading and basic research and found that gulls mate for life which I did not know. They also baby talk to their chicks. They have a complex communication system within the flock as well. Very interesting!

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