I see San Diego as an over caffeinated and under-rested man in a freshly pressed suit, constantly twitching and looking for his own reflection in mirrored glass. He likes to be reassured that he’s doing the right thing in the right way, and that he looks good while doing it. San Diego is always busy, always working, always productive and on point. He’s the type of guy I get along with, but never really like. He’s too smooth, too fast talking, too pretty for me and my ratty hair and imperfect skin.
Tijuana is closer to my type. He’s scrubby like me, with holes in his jeans, threads hanging from his worn T-shirt and dirt under his fingernails and maybe even a little hot sauce smeared across his chin. He’s busy, too, almost chaotically so, but he doesn’t drink coffee or wake up at the break of dawn. He rolls out of bed when he wants and gets things done in his own time and in his own way. He’s always trapped in his own mind, trying to figure things out and if he ever does catch a glance of his own reflection, it’s by accident and it scares him. Tijuana doesn’t like to be reminded of the harsh reality of here and now. Tijuana lives in dreams.
A City of Broken Dreams. I’ve heard Tijuana described that way, and it’s partially true. If you look around, you see half-built buildings, many of them grandiose in scale. You see hunched over, tired looking women from the South with their small children huddled at their feet. There are bordered up businesses on every block. Homeless, disfigured dogs, perhaps once cute puppies owned by a once prosperous family, linger near taco stands, ready to pounce on a dropped piece of meat or tortilla.
Tijuana comes with this kind of baggage, but at least he doesn’t hide it. San Diego has problems, too. Homeless people line the over-watered green hills of Balboa Park night and day. Homeless dogs are captured, and eventually euthanized so as not to bother the citizenry. Trash and litter line the freeways, but people drive too quickly to see. San Diego covers his problems with a thin veil of superficial beauty.