gall and gumption

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The neighborhood that I want to move to reminds me of the Caribbean. The houses are all mismatched: different sizes, ages, colors, and less of that suburban putty colored paint that I loathe. I like junk in front yards and on porches, I like seeing people sitting on porches, strangely garbed, smoking cigarettes and watching traffic. If you walk around you smell cooking--maybe it's chile verde. It is utterly without pretensions, but when you turn a corner from what street to the next you never know what you'll see.

Photo by John Ward

The people who live there are not rich. They improvise. Or they fill their front yards with gnomes, green ceramic frogs, and a Bathtub Mary. My friend John and I went walking around there on Sunday and he taught me a new verb: "to Home Depot" as in (looking at a house) "they don't seem to have Home Depot'd it to death." He took this photo with my iPad.


At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cuss word. i was busy telling you that this is our neighborhood in SB and then i tried to look up the spelling for barbeque (still wrong) and lost it. yes--i love this kind of neighborhood (to avery's chagrin). if you get up at 6 you can see the men taking their bikes to various jobs or catching the bus that drives to the ventura/oxnard fields. every house has a dog or three. lots of children, very young mothers with excellent make-up skills. too many people to a house. people catching buses because that's what's affordable. awesome weekend smells. after dinner the men smoke and and drink beer sitting in the front yards. the papaya cart, the icee cart where
they shave the ice with a big blade right in front of you. some trash, a crack house 3 blocks away. it's real existence vs "santa barbara living." and, just blocks from the beach and over the freeway overpass to state street. my big question--why let all us poor people live so close to the beach? you'd think they'd have raised the old houses by now though we are seeing gentrification moving slowly our way. we look to the back of the mesa--all green and lush. robyn calls it the "butt of the mesa." anne

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