Farther down Adams, stop for a scoop of coconut and, lately, pumpkin goodness at Mariposa Ice Cream, just west of Mansfield, made by Dick and Anna in the back of their shop, so good it’ll make the moon go blind.
At Mansfield take a left, then a quick right down the first alley. You might run across the entrepreneur collecting recyclables on an overloaded bicycle, his bare black body lithe and sinuous and muscularly cut as to make Bruce Lee look like a flabby sonofabitch.
Don’t fear Mona, she’s just doing her job.
Cross 35th, still in the alley, and you come upon a chain-fenced back lot where, if you pass after dark, a half-dozen sets of yellow eyes clock you. This is their turf, true alley cats of all size, color, hair length and disposition, and no one can touch them. Keep walking, but beware Mona, the seemingly bloodthirsty Dalmatian who guards a miniscule yard facing the alley. Don’t fear Mona, she’s just doing her job.
They don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee, but that’s Muskogee, and this ain’t. Whew, that was a big whiff for a San Diego alley, more like a New Orleans whiff, but Normal Heights is not the French Quarter, Haight Ashbury, Greenwich Village or Montparnasse. It is neither better nor worse, nor does it claim to be. That’s what sets it apart.
Normal Heights is located on a triangular plateau between the 8, 805 and 15 freeways about five miles northeast of downtown San Diego. This story first appeared in San Diego City Beat.