The Gaslamp Quarter is one of the most popular spots in San Diego, especially at night. It is a nicer part of downtown, with white buildings and golden lights, beaming off of the street like a scene from one of those Hollywood movies. Hand in hand, we embraced the cold night air and braved the crowds before us. Tall and short; dark and light; blonde and brunette; small and large; homeless and rich. Every type of person that one could imagine was sure to be found in that crowd. A mixing pot of all the people of San Diego. And in the middle of this crowd were a 6’6” skinny guy with a man bun (Cole), and an average size girl with small, cold fingers (me). The crowds came in waves, one here and one there, circling around busy restaurants with dozens of flat screen T.V.s. And they each had on one thing: The Super Bowl. Sports are just about my least favorite activity in the world, especially football. And the Super Bowl is no exception to this. I will do homework or wash the dog before sitting in front of the flat screen with a hundred people who sweat and scream and jump at each play. Luckily I had a man who would rather spend a night on the town with me than watch the Super Bowl. We thought that we could escape the craziness of game day by walking the streets of downtown, but clearly we were mistaken. Just about every other shop in the Gaslamp Quarter is a restaurant, and just about every one of those was screening the live Super Bowl game. Women of all ages were dressed up and dressed down for the big event. Wearied children played on their mothers’ iPhones as each play unraveled. That’s what I would be doing if I were dragged along to watch this game too, I thought to myself. We had stopped outside one restaurant to watch the people, and, unashamedly, to watch the halftime show. Diamonds, leotards, fire, and puppet strings. Lady Gaga went all out for this performance. Cole and I watched as the men’s heads slowly turned away from the screens on the walls and toward the screens in their hands. The women, however, did quite the opposite. Eyes were glued to the T.V. as Gaga performed all of her classics. Children would now glance up for a few minutes at a time before returning to their devices.
We left the restaurant steps, hoping for a little less craziness as we continued our walk. We soon hit Ghirardelli’s Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, a heaven sent in contrast to the rowdy bars we had been passing. We strolled through the wide corridors and into the stark shop. It was white and blue, remaining simple, and keeping us sane, in the night of chaos. We devoured caramel and chocolate swirled between vanilla ice cream in an old-fashioned glass. It gave us the energy to make our walk back to the car.
Walking back was calm. The game had finished and all of the fans, elated and disappointed, had returned home to their desperately awaiting beds. I too longed for the soft cushion of my pillow under my head. Just a few more blocks. The billboard lights dazzled across the night sky, reflecting off buildings and illuminating each block. It felt like a dream, empty streets and brilliant lights.
Finally we arrived at the car. His hand slid out of mine and clutched the passenger door, allowing for me to grab onto him as I climbed into his lifted truck. He got in and we decided we should probably check to see who won the game. I Googled, and I mistyped. “Superb Owl”. Hmm. Interesting.