Paddy’s Day in San Diego San Diego is a small city 120 miles down the 5 from Los Angeles. Probably the first thing that pops into anyone's head about San Diego is the San Diego Zoo. I personally found the zoo a little overrated. It's just a zoo---like every other zoo---there are animals and they are fed and they shit and people look at them and they look back at people.
Compared to LA, San Diego is an easy-going sleepy place. There is a strong navy/military presence there, so you do not cross the street against the light, sir, no sir. There are nice beaches. The bars and restaurants are not pretentious. The people are not just interested in the film industry. Like many Angelenos, I try to invade San Diego as often as I can. I eat their food, seduce their men, drink their booze, then tear ass back up the 5 in order to be back in the office Monday morning. By the way, I have discovered that the best time to drive the 5 is at 11pm---the traffic is lighter.
This past weekend, on March 13th to be exact, San Diego had its big St. Patrick's Day Festival and Parade. First, let me clarify two things. Yes, there are a lot of Irish people in San Diego, and yes, I am aware that Paddy's Day is March 17th (this year, that's a Wednesday). I think San Diego either wants to start the celebrating early or does the celebrating on the weekend because that's when it's most convenient (it's a M-F, 9-5 kind of town). Whatever the reason, on that sunny afternoon (with temps in the seventies), I was drinking a tiny plastic cup of Guinness among people wearing forty shades of green.
And I tell ya, there was some full-on St. Patrick's Day green wearing. Big green hats, green boas, green plastic beads, green ribbons, green sashes, green pants, green dresses, green jewelry, giant green inflatable boxing gloves (I kid you not), green carnations, green ties, green suspenders, green, green, and more green.
Once my eyes adjusted, a whole new group of people came into focus. They weren't wearing green. They were the Renaissance people aka ‘The Fellowship of the Geeks'. They were dressed in wool tunics with leather boots, hats, capes, etc. They drank their 4-drink ticket beers out of wooden mugs, and they were armed. Yep, they had swords. Even though they seemed harmless and friendly and looked a little silly (it is 2004 after all), I could not stop thinking about the weapons of lass destruction hanging from their belts. I did not ask for a fencing demonstration, but I did ponder how to get the sword away from Geek Boy should he draw it on me or any of my companions. Maybe it's the Xena Warrior Princess in me, but I like to be mentally prepared for such things.
How exactly does one disarm a geek boy without spilling her beer?
1. With trickery. Shout, "Look! Liv Tyler!" then grab his sword when he turns away???? 2. Brute force. Pass beer to drinking companions and basically kick geek boy's ass and leave him rolling on the ground in agony???? 3. The direct approach. Be really casual and ask if you can take a closer look at his sword while you flutter your eyelashes. Geek boy answers, "uh, sure" and passes sword to you. Pretend to be overwhelmed for a moment---oh, it's so heavy. Then raise it up. Gotcha!
I was unable to ponder this question for long because my drinking companions had bigger questions to consider: What is the coolest way to toss your plastic cup into the trash? Even though the majority preferred the long, 3-point toss, I tried to master the slam-dunk. However, you can't just slam dunk, you gotta jump up, twist, then slam the cup down into the trash, then pump your fist. It's all in the style.
Oh yeah, and to be fair to San Diego, there was also a lovely parade (which I missed because I was at breakfast), and there was food, music, dancers, llama rides for the kids, big giant blow-up things for kids to jump on, and a booth selling cellphone service. It was a family thing, and I didn't see many amateurs drinking---and no green beer, no pools of vomit, no slobbering even. I had two plastic cups (probably about a pint) of stout, and that was that. Yes, there was drinking, but not drinking to get drunk. We all just enjoyed ourselves down in sunny San Diego.