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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Next time I'm in PB (Pacific Beach), I'll try AGAIN to have a Big Ass Burger!

When I see a sign like the one above, I feel that it provides warmth to my soul, to my psyche. The person who conceived this sign is a linear thinker. No marketing degrees here. No Harvard affectations here. No Oxonian here. Just the simple proclamation that the observer is a mere 65 feet from a "BIG ASS BURGER". What more could a hamburger eater want than one of those??

No golden arches, or youth dressed in baggy pants, spinning on their heads in the street. No slutty looking girls with almost no clothes on. No vacuum headed 20-something youth with their tongues hanging out chanting empty-headed rubbish. Just a "BIG ASS BURGER", only a few feet away. I knew that I liked the guy who painted this sign, and I knew that I was going to invest 65 steps to find the masters of this bit of information, and meet the purveyors of "BIG ASS BURGERS". I stood in the street to get this photo, and then walked around the corner, in the direction of the fluorescent green arrow.

Several things happened almost simultaneously after I rounded the corner. A bright red fire truck parked in front of Fred's Mexican Grill and several firemen got out and entered it. Two San Diego police cars pulled up behind the fire truck, and the cops stood in front of the restaurant. Two cops went inside, and two waited outside. No lights were flashing and no sirens were howling. I assumed it was a lunch break, and continued walking, having only about 20 steps left to go. A young man, in baggy shorts, shirtless, well tanned, with ratty blond hair came rocketing down the sidewalk on his skate board, which had red wheels and flames and skulls painted on it. He screamed something as he shot past the door to the home of the "BIG ASS BURGER", and kept accelerating as he zoomed away.

There were moments of silence, nanoseconds probably, and then all kinds of hell unique to Southern California erupted. Two Mexican kids on tiny bicycles rounded the same corner by the fluorescent green arrow at breakneck speed and one them slammed into a policeman, who was knocked into the street. The kid fell off of his bike and took off running. I never saw him again. The other bicycle kid, looking at the collision his friend just had with the cop, ran into a parking meter, and was thrown into the street. The driver of a huge black Ford pickup truck tried to avoid running over either person in the street and ran into a parked car instead. The two cops who had been inside of the restaurant ran out of its dark interior and into the intensely bright mid day Californian sun, and were temporarily blind, which gave the Mexican kid in the street time to get up and run across the street, into an alley, and into oblivion. The other cop, the one who had not been hit by the bicycle, was on his police radio, ordering backup units, and possibly, helicopter gunships from the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton.

I'm sure that the cop on the radio had NO idea of what was happening. I had seen it all, and was totally overwhelmed by the complete chaos created by the union of several unrelated events. My mind was searching for a pattern to this madness, telling itself to look closer, while telling my body to take cover, even though the only available cover was 20 feet away, the home of "BIG ASS BURGERS". The other two cops could now see, and were out in the street, dodging cars, trying to control them.

An ambulance arrived, followed by another, and then four more police cars, and two more ambulances arrived. All arrived with lights flashing and sirens shrieking. Traffic was diverted, and more police cars arrived. The two firemen who had been the first to enter, came out laughing, and seemed amused with the show going on in the street and on the sidewalk. I raised my camera to photograph them, and a cop put his hand on my shoulder and told me to "get movin". I protested, but was told to leave, or be escorted from the scene.

I left

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