Single Gal and Appreciating What We Have

I have a friend in town this week visiting from Ireland. It’s always interesting to see our town from an outsider’s perspective. He is well traveled, has lived in various American cities before, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco, and so he is aware that there is life outside his little green island. But when we were talking about what he wanted to do when he was here, I thought I had better take him to San Francisco or else he’ll be bored; it won’t be chic enough in the South Bay and there won’t be enough to do. 

Well, much to my surprise, he wanted sun (it has been raining in Ireland biblically for about 40 days and 40 nights) and everything else was second on the list.  Considering that San Francisco in the summer is about as bleak as Ireland in the winter, I thought the weather might throw him into a state of depression he would not recover from. So instead, I decided to take him to some of the many beautiful and fun places outside of San Francisco that I like. 

The first stop was Santana Row.  He commented on the diversity of the crowd there.  We take it for granted that people are from all walks of life, but while in Ireland, all he sees are, well, Irish people.  The second stop was the wine country of Morgan Hill and Gilroy and he was amazed at the houses, the land and the beauty of the countryside. And since he is from Ireland, one of the most picturesque landscapes anywhere, that is really saying something. We have been hanging out in Santa Cruz for a few days, where he has been riding his beach cruiser along the water, having margaritas by the sea and swimming in what seems like tropical water (to him). California really does have its own lifestyle and the Bay Area has more to offer than we sometimes realize.

Now if I could just get him to actually leave….


  1. We brought this upon ourselves in November 2006:

    Cindy Chavez – Emerald Island, Irish accents, thriving economy, well-mannered people.

    Chuck Reed – Gangbangers, obesity, murder, mayhem, crooked politicians, fiscal mismanagement, drug cartels, red tree, Iraq war, oil spills, endangered species, overpopulation, high humidity, failing schools, litter, vomit, drunks, hunger, violence, poverty, homelessness, disease, famine, welfare, food stamps, unemployment, mortgage meltdown, traffic congestion, illegal immigration, drunk driving, nightclub brawls.

    We made the wrong choice.

  2. SG,

    To declare the Santana Row crowd as diverse one has to remove from that definition so many elements (having to do with economics and social identity) that in the final analysis, the “diversity” there is reduced to people who look different from one another. In other words, diversity of the homogenized, Hollywood-extras variety. Follow that diverse crowd out of that artificial paradise and watch them retreat to a not-so-diverse collection of safe, pricey neighborhoods and well-paying, professional jobs.

    Not to suggest that those Santana Row folks don’t come from many places, or have a variety of interesting experiences, but their diversity is not the diversity that is burying our state government economically—filling our prisons, devouring our public assistance programs, sinking our school system, and swelling the ranks of street gangs. It is this latter form of diversity, the one that dares enter Santana Row only when carrying a mop-bucket or gun, that will by its sheer weight bring the new taxes and fees that will drag the economy and directly threaten the economic future of even our most treasured little magic kingdoms.

  3. I guess you burbed since you went to Santa Row, not downtown.  Oh that suburban(erb) lifestyle.  People in the valley burb all the time since it’s a suburb.  I guess downtown is not worthy of a destination, so Single Gal, keep burbing(erb, urb)  Drink some water to cure it or go to New York City.

  4. Mike #3 quipped:” I guess downtown[SJ] is not worthy of a destination.”  Well, Mike, based upon my view of empty streets downtown all day on the weekends and all night during most weekdays, I’d say most folks believe that you’re correct. 

    I have sat in Capers Loft downtown on Saturdays and Sundays since they opened, having lunch and watching sports downstairs on their flat panel all afternoon, and most times I’d be the only customer, or one of only two or three.  I don’t go there any more, either.  But that’s another story.

    Last Sunday I went to Santana Row, the extremely popular faux city-within-a-suburb and saw all manner of folks walking by as I sat in The Left Bank having lunch and watching golf on their smallish TV @ the bar.  THOUSANDS of folks walked by during the three hours I was there.  I’d bet that during the same three hours you’d be hard pressed to count 300 folks downtown, including the usual assortment of trolls, homeless, schizophrenics, etc.  And there were even some of the folks at Santana Row that finfan rails against (except gang-types) there as well…some really seedy looking folks.  But those folks probably didn’t spend any money there.

    Despite the expenditure of more dollars than have been spent on Dubya’s ridiculous war in Eye-Rack (as most folk still pronounce it), downtown SJ remains moribund.  In some areas it looks better, but they still ain’t no folk there, which is the problem.  They re-built it backwards—office space where people come in the day and flee from @ 5:00 and don’t return on weekends—instead of housing along with business.  People who live downtown will stay and spend downtown.  Gtting some snow white family from Almaden or LG or Los Altos to come downtown for anything other than work still ain’t happened after all those BILLIONS of $$.  No retailer of any size would risk the $$ to come DT until lots of folks live DT.  And BART won’t bring them DT either.

    SJ is the burbs, and will remain so at least until the death of our grandkids, no matter how much money is spent.  The push to North SJ development confirms it.  They have another chance to get the timing and scheduling right.

  5. The problem is that everyone sits on their ass and says “this isn’t cool enough.” We should get ICE to start deporting cynics instead.

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