I think all of us year-round residents of La Jolla feel incredibly lucky to live in this beautiful oceanside community. But just as people on cell phones treat the rest of the world like deaf mutes, one can’t help but notice that summer tourists at a beach resort seem to have beamed themselves mentally to a parallel universe where traffic laws do not apply.
One could not have a discussion about summer in La Jolla without discussing parking. Or more specifically, a lack of it. Parking is never easy in the downtown area any time of the year but becomes a statistical impossibility come July 4. Those of us who live here know where the two hour spots are and are prepared to hike a few blocks to a lunch destination, but people who don’t end up making endless frustrated loops before parking in a guaranteed-ticket one hour spot or stumbling upon that rare garage that still has room.
Last August, always the busiest month in La Jolla, I was meeting a friend, her visiting Mom, and her ten year old daughter at the Whisknladle for lunch. My friend dropped off her Mom and daughter and went in search of a parking spot. It was a full hour before she was back, valiantly trying to hold back some well-deserved crankiness. But thanks to that wait, the ten year old had had time to completely program my new iPhone even though she doesn’t personally have one herself. It’s all intuitive, she explained, adding that she’d just programmed her Dad’s who is president of the technology company my husband works for. My friend reported that if she hadn’t already dropped off the others she would have been seriously tempted to turn around and go back to Carlsbad. Even the garages were full.
Come Memorial Day, I try to keep my maximum speed at 15 miles per hour in downtown La Jolla. That’s actually not too hard to accomplish since most of the time you couldn’t go faster than that if you wanted to. I fantasize having a neon blinking sign on the top of my car that I could broadcast “Look both ways!” “The light is red!” or even “AIIEEEE!” But soon enough, it will be Labor Day again and life in La Jolla will return to its normally congested self. In the meantime, we hope everyone had a really nice time!