Yoga for Unicorns has not retired. It has moved!
I was at a dinner-ish party shortly before the aforementioned move. One of the guests, a cheerful and super honest woman I had never previously met, was asking me about my upcoming location change.
“So you live in Del Mar, right? Wow, Del Mar is so nice.”
“Yeah,” I said. “But I’m moving this weekend! To Ocean Beach.”
“Oh.” The look of surprise and confusion she suppressed was so obvious that it made us both laugh. “Well, that is about the biggest change you could make just moving from one part of San Diego to another.”
That lady is right. Del Mar and Ocean Beach (OB) are the geographic bookends of San Diego proper: they represent two culturally almost-opposite ends of the city while still maintaining so many fundamental qualities in common. It’s sort of the difference between skiing and snowboarding: anyone unfamiliar with both usually thinks they’re largely the same. Yeah, they’re both things to do in the snow. But check out these people:
Do they look like they’d be friends with these guys?
Probably not.* But maybe, right?
Both Del Mar (well, Carmel Valley) and OB boast locally owned “healthy” grocery stores. Both have an unusually high percentage of people who are really into crystal healing and are presently attending a yoga teacher training. But, as a wise person once told me, it’s the differences that make all the difference. Have you seen those charts in the New York Times Magazine that compare two couldn’t-possibly-be-more-different but somehow matching things? Here is my version of one for Del Mar and OB:
Wait, homeless? Like, people that have no house? That still happens? I’m going to start a nonprofit for that!
Del Mar: None. Seriously, and this always sort of bugged me. Unless you count Starbucks, which was closed for renovations when I moved. I witnessed a disoriented pride of triathletes rolling up one morning, all incredulous and outraged. Del Mar needs a coffee shop, business-y people. It would be a very successful venture.
What the surfers look like
Del Mar: To steal a line from Alice Gregory’s amazing recent piece for N+1, “posess(ing) all of the features that constitute a modern, normative standard of beauty, but to a ghoulish degree… so blond and so tan so lean that it actually starts to look like one big mess of congenital disorders…” (sounds harsh, but that story is so awesome, click on the link above to read it)
OB: Same as the above, but also some mustachioed hipsters.
What are people doing at 9am?
OB: Going to yoga, after just waking up. Or maybe after waking and baking.
Del Mar: Going to yoga, after drinking a gluten free kale and cashew juice and spending half an hour taking pictures of themselves on the (great lighting!) patio #doing #yoga #every #day. #soblessed #gratitude
What are people doing at 2pm?
Del Mar: Confirming a Reiki appointment for their dog. Or going to one of the many puzzling events at the Del Mar Library.
OB: Playing hackysack, hula hooping, or going to the OB Crystal Store. While drinking a pumpkin-kale-goji juice.
Outfits often spotted
Del Mar: Current/Elliot Jeans with Yves St. Laurent Tribute heels and a seasonally appropriate top.
OB: What you slept in, or yoga-ish clothes that would be impossible to actually do yoga in. Or this:
Del Mar: Darrell Issa, a 60-yar-old republican white guy former CEO (the wealthiest member of congress!) from Cleveland, Ohio who moved to California after a huge fire consumed his Midwestern office space. Fortunately, he had increased his insurance policy 462 % and moved all the important files and computers out of said office a few weeks before the fire.
OB: Susan Davis, a former social worker whose claim to fame is authoring a state law giving women direct access to their OB/Gyn doctors without requiring a referral from their primary care physicians. After graduating from Berkeley, she worked with at-risk youths in Israel and traded living on a kibbutz for living in Japan with her Navy-guy husband.
You get the idea. Del Mar is nice/fancy “hippie” and OB is hippy Hippy hippie. This store is here, and it is real:
I used to have this idea that people were a function of the place they lived. Traveling to the Midwest during college one fall, I noticed that everyone was so sedentary and would talk about how much weight they were gaining. “How dumb,” I remember thinking. “Why don’t they just go for a jog or a swim?” I got my answer the following morning. I never knew that 30 degree weather meant like, literally freezing. I got as far as the mailbox before turning around and deciding I’d just drive the three blocks to get a coffee. Not only is there no ocean to swim in, there’s also no lap pool in the yard. Southern California is warm and beautiful for most of the year, so everyone exercises more and more easily. Geography as destiny, right?
After living in San Diego (and Del Mar, which is technically its own city) for eight years now, I’ve changed my mind. The place doesn’t make you a certain way; a certain type of person moves to the place that fits her. It’s like Hollywood in the early 20th century, when the olden days equivalent of the most theater-major/homecoming queen person from every little town in the Midwest moved out to LA for the chance at a part in a “talkie.” Like in the 1850’s when you could move out here make a theoretical fortune panning for gold.**
People can’t help where they’re born, but where you land is up to you. And if you can pick your landing spot, chances are that the people already there picked it for the same reasons you did. Which is why the surfers everywhere look pretty much the same, and so do the triathletes.
I guess my point is that your “home” can be anywhere, and even multiple places at the same time. Even places that are really different from one another.
“Home is the nicest word there is.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder
So sayonara Del Mar; I’ll keep you in my heart. Here’s a handstand on the deck to prove it.
*Side note: the pic of the ladies is from an article called “how to look cool while skiing,” an article I hope no one I know has ever read.
**It’s often remarked that Californians, being the progeny of these types (gold rushers, starlets, etc.) contains an especially risk-comfortable gene pool. This is similar to the theory that ADHD is more prevalent in the US because we’re the great-great-great grandkids of everyone who decided they were bored with where they were from and adventured to new and unknown parts. I think both of these theories are great.