San Diego can be a really tough place to live in the summertime. Every time I escape from work on a lunch break, I drive by all of America on summer vacation.
They are riding along the boardwalk on rented beach cruisers or rollerblades, often falling down and laughing as if no one witnessed it.
But I witnessed it, and I laugh at them from my driver’s side window with anonymous third person delight.
I love laughing at strangers falling down.
I’m not even sorry.
I grew up watching America’s Funniest Home Videos, so it’s really not even my fault.
I also love watching people fail at parallel parking. It’s like watching an awkward first date in motion. The car is trying WAY too hard for a curb that’s not at all interested.
City living provides endless observable entertainment, and it helps if you live in a vacation city.
I really appreciate strangers on vacation in San Diego, tourists of all kinds.
I will gladly take their photograph or offer confusing, well-intentioned directions. Actually, unhelpful, highly-animated directions are kind of my specialty.
I will happily tell tourists which restaurants are good and where parking is easiest to find. If they forget to pick up their dog’s poo in my neighborhood, I will gladly chase them down with a bag and shout, “Looks like you got stranded without a bag!”
In the San Diego summertime, I tend to notice radioactive upper-back tan lines and people who pay for dinner out of fanny packs. I observe packs of families that wander from restaurant to restaurant in Little Italy, asking each hostess, “Is this where you can get pizza?”
Summer in San Diego is fun because it’s like watching a live version of America’s Funniest Home Videos, except with live families that haven’t realized they’re funny yet. We get to watch everyone else’s family vacation, a messy, beautiful memory in motion.
Soon enough, I will be that person in a faraway place asking self-evident questions and forgetting to apply sunscreen to my upper back. I will fall down in very public situations and ask for directions to locations right in front of me. I have been that adventurer and will gladly be her again. Because making memories—especially in travel– requires a toll of foolishness. There’s no way around it, and yet somehow it’s always worth it.
So until I can get on my next adventure, I live vicariously through America’s summertime in San Diego.
Even on lunch breaks, I will laugh from my driver’s side window with anonymous third person delight as people vacation with necessary disorientation.
America’s Home Videos taught me how to enjoy family memories that I’m not a part of and I consider this a gift.
Thanks Bob Saget. Thanks America.