California: Suburban San Diego
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Lesson: Suburban San Diego

Setting the scene:

      Let us look at the suburb of Mira Mesa, as an example of the modern California suburb. The easiest route to Mira Mesa from downtown San Diego is freeway 15. Drive north in one of the middle lanes. The far left lane is reserved for the fastest traffic. Slower vehicles and those which exit should be in the far right lane. Behind a hill on the right is Lake Miramar.
      Watch the large green freeway signs and take the Mira Mesa exit. Turn left at the crossroad, called Mira Mesa Blvd. Notice a shopping center on a small hill to your right. Continue driving under the freeway underpass. You will see many shopping centers on either side of the road.
      Follow Mira Mesa Blvd. Notice that drivers must obey all traffic laws. They must give the right-of-way to pedestrians, even when someone jaywalks or ignores traffic lights.
      Let us suppose that we are riding with our American friends, Wes and Mel. They want to stop at Sunflower, a grocery store. Later, they will have lunch at McDonald’s.

People in This Story:
  • Jeff; Man (worker in a restaurant); Mel; Wes
  • Brand Name or Company Name item is in green.
  • Slang terms are linked to the Slang Dictionary. Click on the term to view its meaning.
  • "Speed Talk" is in pink; meaning is in [brackets].


    Wes:       Hey, Mel. We have to get some vegetables and other stuff for Mom. Turn into Sunflower. It’s the closest store to home. Besides, I want to eat at McDonald’s today.

    Mel:       OK, but we better eat first or the food might spoil.

    Wes:       Right. I don’t feel like using the drive-in service. How about eating inside?

    Mel:       Yeah. Sounds good to me.

    [Mel parks the car and they enter McDonald’s. Since it is almost noon, a large number of customers already is standing in line. Finally, it is their turn to order. A smiling young man speaks to them.]

    Man:       Hi. Can I take your order?

    Wes:       Sure. Give me a plain burger with ketchup, order of fries, hot apple pie and chocolate shake.

    Man:       Gotcha [Got you]. How ‘bout you, Miss?

    Mel:       Well... I guess I’ll have a Big Mac and large french fries.

    Man:       Do you want a drink with this order?

    Mel:       Yep. Gimme [give me] a medium orange.

    Man:       Is that an orange juice or soda?

    Mel:       Soda.

    Man:       Can I suggest an apple or cherry pie?

    Mel:       No, thanks. [Mel whispers to Wes.] I want some of Rosie’s donuts.

    Wes:       Wow! Sounds great to me.

    [They receive their orders, take straws and napkins, and move to a table.]

    Wes:       The bums! Some clown put onions on my hamburger.

    Mel:       Oh, stop complaining. At least the food is hot. With so many people in here now, we’re lucky to get everything else done right. If you’re finished, let’s go to Sunflower.

    Wes:       Just a minute. I want to finish my pie.

    [After eating, both Mel and Wes stop at Sunflower. They take a shopping cart and use their mother’s shopping list to select the items she wants. However, Wes decides to go down one aisle while Mel looks in a different section of the store. Jeff, Wes’s friend, sees Wes and yells to him.]

    Jeff:       Yo, Wes! Whatcha doin’ [What are you doing]?

    Wes:       Hi, Jeff. Just getting some things for Mom. She wants stuff like green onions, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, string beans, lettuce and garlic. Good thing she didn’t ask for lima beans; they’re an abomination!

    Jeff:       Know what ya [you] mean. I hate ‘em [them], too. Same with okra. But you’re not in the right section. This is junk food--cookies, chips and candy.

    Wes:       Yeah, how ‘bout that. Just the kind of food I like most. Better fill up the basket [shopping cart]. Oh, and I want some of that new fruit juice that I saw advertized on TV last night.

    Jeff:       You mean Five Alive?

    Wes:       That’s not new. It’s been around for ages. I mean Whizz Mix. It’s supposed to taste good. Hey, I’ll see ya [you] later. Gotta [got to] find my sister and get home. How ‘bout playing some basketball around six?

    Jeff:       Five O’clock is better for me. I have to do my homework later. See ya.

    [Wes finds Mel at the dairy section.]

    Mel:       About time you came back! I got the vegetables, along with some grapes, pears, raspberries, bananas and Bing cherries. All we need is milk and cheese.

    Wes:       Don’t forget the sour cream and cottage cheese. I think mom wants both cheddar and Gouda. We might as well throw in some ice cream.

    Mel:       OK, but not vanilla. Dad likes chocolate chip. Hey! He likes Rosie’s donuts, too. That means he can pay for them instead of us.

    Wes:       Alright, great thinking! Let’s go.

    [Mel drives them to a different shopping center. They get a dozen big donuts and return home. Their house is located off a side street not too far from the Mira Mesa elementary school and county park. In the park is a library, children’s playground, recreation center, baseball fields and picnic tables. The neighborhood is typical of southern California. Most homes only have fences in the backyard. Landscaping is common, with various trees and flowers being used. Click here to see the following story: Inside the House.]

  • © Page Publisher: Duane R. Hurst