Dear San Diego,

It strikes me that maybe some of you did not grow up, as I did, in a city with a bellicose reputation for being a shit stain on the ass pants of your state. Maybe your childhoods weren’t saturated with memories of helicopters circling the neighborhood in-home meth operations. Or could it be you didn’t come of age in a place where living an active lifestyle meant walking to the corner store to buy Hot Cheetos and Boones Farm Strawberry Hill whilst trying not to get stabbed?

Regardless, here we now find ourselves, living side by side in this city of a vastly different mythology. The active person’s wet dream—San Diego, California.

I have to agree with you, at a temperate 72 degrees most of the year, it really is beautiful here. We have the ocean in our front yard and the mountains in our back. Although you must admit, most of us actually live in someone’s front or backyard because we’re mortal and regular, and, for obvious reasons, simply cannot afford to harvest our partner’s overly-cured liver to purchase a 650 sq. ft. bungalow, the yearly property tax of which is equal to that of some people’s whole mortgages.

You know as well as I do that to survive here, it's imperative I learn to straddle a rather prickly dichotomy: I should be laid-back but driven enough to afford the overall high price of breathing air here. I should be fit, but relaxed about it. Work hard, but play harder. And I best do all that fun expensive evolved shit with good vibes only. It’s the law here.

And while you never actually voice these expectations out loud, it does feel like if I’m not spending my two days off each week running 10K’s for sex-trafficked kangaroo rats, if I’m not stand-up paddleboarding every evening after work—scooting myself around the sea like some Sandals resort conquistador—my life is not rad and I might as well move back to the land of hot corn puffs and wine coolers from whence I came.

By evangelizing this tireless pursuit of strenuous activity, you are simultaneously shaming your less active brethren for the perfectly acceptable pursuit of indoor recreation. Did it ever occur to you that maybe leading an active lifestyle doesn’t make you inherently more driven and virtuous? Did it, Brody? Maybe it just makes you sweatier.

Do you know what I truly savor? A good chair. There, I said it. I value sitting. And perhaps that means I’m not sporty enough for you, my fellow San Diegans. It's entirely possible I don’t belong in this place where the casual female grocery shopper’s denim underwear are often barely long enough to conceal her organic tampon string. And I know you would never come right out and say it, but it’s because she’s so active, right? Meaghan's asshole and all adjacent real estate are permitted to peek out of her shorty-shorts because she earned that right. Am I right?

Don’t get me wrong, I'm not against exercise. I do it, and regularly. I also brush my teeth, drink water, and take my vitamins. But I don’t tediously chronicle these activities for the endorsement of the Lycra-clad masses. Although I’m beginning to think maybe posting photos of my fluorescent-colored, post-asparagus pee may be in line with current trends. To me, exercise is maintenance, but it’s not the main event.

So I’m officially opting out. If you need to reach me, my properly-concealed asshole and I will be walking to the corner store for a bottle of Strawberry Hill, and then walking back home to pour some out on a house plant for all my friends back home. And Meaghan, after Brody’s done diligently inspecting my real estate holdings, I’ll be in the front yard downward-dogging all your jogger pals on their way to the health food store for electrolytes. Because that’s just the kind of active lifestyle I lead.

Love and Light,
—Val

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