Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

WYSIWYG (pronounced “wiz-ee-wig”) is the acronym for what you see is what you get.

That infamous phrase was coined by the sassy, outspoken, and honest to a fault character, Geraldine Jones, created by comedian Flip Wilson, ca. 1970.

Over the last five years, viva-city.info has received numerous makeovers. The upcoming renovation is astounding, mainly because I designed and created the site without retaining a professional. Through the course of my studies on designing and coding the new website, I came across WYSIWYG.

It’s difficult to say the word without smiling in spite of yourself. My mind has been spinning with the phrase; and I began looking around my surrounding community and thinking, “Oh that’s so WYSIWYG.”

Downtown residents are a diverse group. A segment of the population who purchased their homes in the eighties are now in their eighties. These white-haired urban mavens leisurely saunter to the grocery store, enjoy a mid-day latte with friends, and volunteer in the community.

Other urbanites settled during the nineties. These forward thinkers longed for a sense of community in a city center environment. Their desire was having it all - work, shopping, dining, culture, friends - within a few short minutes of their front door.

Downtown soon became the “IT” place. Retirees, young families, empty nesters, college graduates, singles, and married couples all found the lifestyle intoxicating.

Perceptions of Downtown living and the reality are often quite different. Does the retiree fully consider having a heavy-footed neighbor living in the unit above? How do the empty nesters moving from a large home in the suburbs deal with an angry neighbor? When the pressures of work require the young singles to yearn for a good night’s sleep, does the noise from adjacent nightclubs keep them awake?

I explore…Is living Downtown WYSIWYG?

So I slipped on my black patent leather heels, with pen and paper I combed the streets for the answer.

Anna Marie Barnard (Horizons) recently moved Downtown. Even though she was looking forward to the city ambience and activities offered, she didn’t expect to meet such neat people so quickly and form great friendships. Anna Marie has liked other places she’s lived, but she loves living Downtown.

Upon approaching Dean Baker (The Brickyard) with my question, he declared, “Absolutely.” Before moving from the suburbs, Dean visited Downtown every weekend. He enjoys the lifestyle even more now that he can park his car on Friday and not drive it until Monday morning. He can now focus on what he calls “the simple life”.

There are trade-offs to living Downtown. Shawn O’Shaughnessy enjoys the excitement and energy of the activities, yet there are times the extra happenings create traffic nightmares. Overall, he finds getting to know his neighbors and the smiling faces on the streets outweighs any momentary inconvenience.

I quickly realized if you see Downtown living as delightful, it’s what you’ll get. And, if you see lemons, pull out your recipe for lemonade. May all your new year’s resolutions be WYSIWYG. -January 2008

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