It's a sign of the times
And a year ago I never could have seen it. – Petula Clark
It all begins with a song. I’ll be going about my everyday busy-ness and a song pops into my head, playing over and over. That’s when I know it’s time to put fingers to the keyboard.
As I research the lyrics of the chosen melody, I don’t see an apparent connection between what is bubbling up inside of me and whether the tune relates to our downtown life. Perhaps, the lyrics under the same title written by Prince or Queensryche have more relevance.
Needless to say, Clark’s refrain just won’t be quieted.
As I walk the streets, it’s hard not to notice once crowded neighborhood establishments disappearing, leaving windows blocked by tan paper and rubbish collecting in the entryway. Now, the refrain words come clearly into focus.
Unlike other metropolitan cities, the history of San Diego is filled with cycles of promise and disappointment. Many a man has stepped foot on our shores with the notion of hitting the mother lode. Blinded by irresistible avarice, too often the sign of the times is missed.
Which leaves those who live in this sunny paradise waiting. Waiting for the lights in tower windows to glow, waiting for businesses to provide life’s necessities, waiting for those exclusive eateries and boutiques to joyfully frequent. Waiting to be rediscovered.
Have you noticed how quiet our community has become? Where is the sound of the cars, people walking the sidewalks, restaurants with waiting lines, stores with shoppers? Is it the sign of the times?
I ponder…Or, is it the sign of our times?
Despite our various views, there’s a common thread among residents witnessing changing times Downtown.
“No doubt about it, these are difficult economic times. It’s sad to see a number of Downtown construction projects stalled and fenced off. As individuals, we need to be careful, keep our credit cards paid off, perhaps drive less, and of course, read books. Is it coincidental that I say this just as my third novel, The Hindenburg Letter, comes out?” says Roger Conlee (Columbia Place) with a smile.
Dan D’Amato (Park Terrace) shares his insights: “Normally, our sidewalks throb and pulse with voices, laughter, and people; these days though, they've been much quieter and with more space to maneuver. It's my hope people remember to escape their homes, walk the city and once again make the heartbeat of San Diego strong.”
“As I work from home and spend a fair amount of time walking my East Village neighborhood, I’ve noticed most of the businesses catering to the baseball fan crowd struggling or entirely closing their doors,” comments Leslie McCoy (Park Blvd West). “It’s not surprising. There needs to be establishments for those of us who live here-single, young, professional.”
Beyond a reasonable doubt, with absolute certitude, I see one sign in our future, though I know not when. We will be rediscovered. We live in the perfect urban paradise. -February 2009