Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bolt Up

T2theZ and I visited San Diego three months ago. I had had a voucher for a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the CONUS, thanks to an overbooked flight home from Zeke’s Vegas bachelor party. And T2theZ is the king of cheap travel and collecting United airline miles. So we chose “America’s Finest City,” with Cleveland the runner-up.

Rowdy fans at San Diego Chargers game
Arm sleeve tattoos are common here
We stayed with T2theZ’s friend in Pacific Beach (P.B.). The doors were never locked, plants grew uncontrolled, and her male roommate was rarely fully-clothed. San Diegans work, worry and hurry less, dress in unique style, and eat burritos for breakfast. The atmosphere in the west coast is rejuvenating, beyond the abundant sunshine.

That includes people’s friendliness and widespread smiles. My three simple requirements for a trip are consuming good food, good beer, and meeting good people. At a backyard bar-b-q I chatted with a pretty blond. “I visited DC once. There was too much cursing!” she said.

I laughed, remembering Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” when he says “f***” 28 times just in the final verse. I think she was referring to her people generally being laid back, as she was.

“You don’t need to say ‘F this’ all the time. It’s more effective when you say it on occasion,” she said.

“I actually agree,” I said. “When I began writing I cursed all the time. My book’s first draft had 'f***' 330 times and ‘motherf***er’ 20. It published with just one ‘motherf***er’ which makes that single instance more valuable.”

She expressed interest in my book and admiration for how I humorize my adversity. I found it breezy to discuss that with her, not uncomfortable as it used to be, and for the purpose of this story I will credit San Diego instead of my increased maturity and confidence.

Speaking of working less, you really want to see the San Diego FOX 5 morning newscasters and their “Dance Party Friday.” Yes, this really is the news.

San Diego is home to dozens of breweries. T2theZ and I must own the record by visiting four in a single day, touring one of them. I have enjoyed learning more about beer (and coffee) the past few months, though I must admit to enjoying Ballast Point’s berry beer the best. Fruity things and I are inseparable.
Stone Brewery in San Diego
Stone Brewing Company's amazing brewery

We went to a Padres game, located in Petco Park downtown.
Petco Park where the San Diego Padres play baseball
Superb open-air, sandstone stadium
We hadn’t planned on going to the Padres game, which is why I hadn’t inquired about free tickets. But I did just that for the Chargers, San Diego's football team. On our Minnesota road trip T2theZ and I had been moderately successful scoring free tickets when I mentioned we were celebrating my five-year cancer-free anniversary. This San Diego trip was one week after my ten-year cancer-free anniversary, so once again I pulled the cancer card. The Chargers PR person wanted to validate my cancerness. “I apologize for having to ask this, but can you provide a doctor’s note confirming your cancer? We sometimes hear fabricated stories.”

“Probably not, but if you visit you’ll see a picture of my hipless skeleton.”

The next day he called me. “I saw your book, and I really don’t think you’d put in that much effort if you made it up. We’re good.” Our free tickets were in the lower bowl about 15 rows up, on the goal line. Props to the Chargers organization for their generosity.
San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium

Outrageous pizza prices at Oggi's in Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Way too sober to purchase a $50 pizza at the Chargers game

Before the game we searched for tailgaters to join. Our peace offering was two six packs. On our first attempt the tailgaters said we could hang out with them for $20 each. These were not the friendly San Diegans we were used to. Our second attempt ended in failure, too. Don’t people want our company, or at least our beer? Finally, we found cool people who allowed us to join them for free.

The thought of morning football seemed horrible until I experienced it: wake up and games are already on, no waiting around! And at the tailgate, at noon, we were watching the end of the early set of games. I could get used to that.

Man v. Food tries Broken Yolk Iron Man Special at Broken Yolk Cafe, San Diego
Before heading to the Chargers game we ate breakfast at Broken Yolk Café, which was featured in Man v. Food. If not for the game I would’ve ordered the Broken Yolk Iron Man Special: a dozen-egg omelet served on a 15-inch pizza pan. Next time I’ll order it, and make sure defibrillators are handy for when my heart stops.

P.B. has happening nightlife, as seen in Real World: San Diego. People were also hitting the sauce hard at the bar-b-q we attended. Late into that party someone brought out a piñata, and climbed on the roof to knot a rope to hang it from. He then jumped down, blindfolded himself, and grabbed an ax to bust it open. When the candy exploded of course I was the first to gather some. But when the ax was swung I got the fuck out of the way. Do you see what I did right there?