Speaking with a few young dudes and a few chicks up here in North County, I asked, “What’s up with your weekend?” this past last Friday/Saturday of gloom and damp in May.
Justin Daum is 22 years old. He is seated on his bicycle at the Oceanside Transit Center waiting for someone. Daum wears a stingy-brimmed hat, snapped in front over his brow. Pale, with a nascent beard, he tells me what he plans for this Friday evening. “I’ll be at the beach for a while with my friends.” I do not question him in the charcoal light of marine layer and misting precipitation. “I’m probably gonna be able to go to Cruisin’ Grand tonight in Escondido, which I love a lot. Other than that, I’ll probably be chillin’ with my roommates in San Marcos. I wouldn’t really party or anything. Maybe I will have one drink. I usually only have one drink a week. I’m a churchgoer; I go to church a lot. It’s a big part of my life, two times on Sunday. I’d like to go a lot more. I’m involved in my church. I go to Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido. It’s been around a long time.”
Natalie Nicole is 23. Slim, attractive, maybe Latina, with short-cropped jet hair, perfect teeth, and librarian glasses. She works at Jitters Express Coffee Pub on Freeman Street in Oceanside. On that bleak Friday afternoon she says she too is going to the beach. “Usually at sunset with my friends and our Hula Hoops.” I tell her I don’t think I’ve seen those since 1963. “We’re starting the revolution again.” The Hula Hoop Revolution Part II. “Tomorrow and Sunday my friend Mandy and I and another friend who serves breakfast at the other Jitters on Coast Highway will be doing Hula Hoops in the parking lot over there. All the traffic on Coast Highway checks us out. People stop all the time. It’s nice. A nice little gathering.”
Andrew A is 19. He has fine black hair past his shoulders. He plans to take his girlfriend out to dinner tonight but they have nowhere decided upon yet. Tomorrow night, Saturday, is prom night, however. His girlfriend is still in high school. “We’ll probably go to dinner again, go to the prom, then get something to eat again. Then we’ll probably go back to her house and watch a movie.”
What movie? Any idea?
“A comedy. Role Models. We just got that.”
You gotta wear a tux for the prom?
Andrew finds a lop-sided grin inside an initial grimace. “Yeah. I do.”
Shery Ponder is working a snack food trailer (the Java Hut) back at the transit center. She just turned 21. “After work I’m going over to some friends’, and they’re having this Thai dinner party; so I’ll go over to this Asian market off Mission and buy some funny food, go over there and cook it. After that, I’ve got this friend. He’s like a disk jockey. He’s doing this dance party, so I’ll go over there.”
What does she mean, “funny food”?
“I’m just gonna buy stuff that I don’t know what it is and try to cook it into like a Pad Thai or something.”
Shelby Griffin is 16. She also slings coffee but at the Blue Mug on Kalmia in Escondido. She’ll be celebrating the end of the school year with her friends. “Nothing crazy. My dad’s a cop. We just hang out at someone’s house and burn old homework and eat chips. We’ll stay up till two, two-thirty burning old homework assigned by teachers we don’t like.”
Eron and Mandy are blessedly young, but I forgot to ask them how young. Eron probably early 20s, Mandy could be 19.They are at sidewalk tables in front of the Blue Mug on Sunday morning. “Saturday night we got a camping spot at Dixon Lake. We had a small fire and hung out with friends and talked about Escondido. That’s because when you’re up there you can see the whole cityscape laid out beneath you. You can see a lot of the 15 and everything.”
Mandy worked behind the counter at the Mug on Friday night, “Then I went to the Metaphor Café. Don Julio was playing, alternative rock kind of stuff. I know the drummer. After, we went out and got Mexican food. Pretty typical weekend for me.”
Eron’s ideal Friday night, he once lived: eating Italian food at a set table on a rooftop at Juniper and Grand, overlooking the antique and custom car show. Mandy too often lives her ideal Friday night playing rock and roll, she on an African drum, in a garage with her friends.