Posts Tagged ‘happiest city in america’


Last week we had a new sidewalk poured out front of our house… and in it we spontaneously placed a little “love note”.  It almost didn’t happen though… as the concrete was setting pretty fast.    I expect this little gesture will last a few decades or more.    They city guys said it would be ok if we wanted to put our initials in the concrete…  but we thought this might be more fun.  Cynthia had a cookie cutter laying around… and I had the extra chain ring from bike I’d taken apart.  After this photo was taken we dyed the heart red…

What is it that gives a place charm?  Why are some cities memorable and others forgettable?   I think it has something to do with the tiniest of details.  This little art project would have never happened in a condominium development.  The CCandR’s would never allow it.  I would only happen in a place where the city officials and workers are allowed a bit of freedom to make a random decision.  The city guys in our case… made sure it was below the sidewalk such that folks won’t trip on it… and the bolts in it are sunk in about 4 inches… so it won’t come out.

I believe cities need policies written… to allow their workers to be creative like this every now and then.  To allow the citizens to make their own tiny little secret spontaneous art projects.  These things won’t happen if we involve the city leaders in every single one… that would only homogenize the end results.  It needs to be random… perhaps slightly controversial every now and then.

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Well… I suppose it had to happen eventually.  That damn book on happiness has outed San Luis Obispo, California big time.  We were on Oprah a couple of days ago. Jenny McCarthy interviewed a bunch of people… and toured around the city and general environs….  talking in that kinda goofy odd “Crest toothpaste spokesmodel” way she has.

I know EVERY SINGLE person interviewed in this segment!   I suppose that it is these social connections that make you feel good about a place.  You can go anywhere and find a conversation almost anytime you like.

Of late I am starting to see more saccharine smiles on tourists around town… Very Stepford wifey.  Wandering around… looking up a lot… as though this were New York maybe… or perhaps like animals that have just been let of of the cage… in a kind of happiness stupor.

The wine and  cheeze places are no doubt doing bang up business… and it is hell to rent a bike I bet.  Oprah Effect they call it.

Here’s kind of a cool overview of SLO and the surrounding area  (a “tilt shift” video)… for some reason a shot of Morro Bay is the first image though!

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San Luis Obispo was featured on Yahoo News on Thanksgiving…  in a report on the new book on Happiness…” Thrive” I spoke about in an earlier post.  We’ve been getting quite a bit of PR from this book actually.

So the other day I was riding my bike up Monterey St…. and a happy couple came out of  the“Petit Soleil” Bed and Breakfast… smiling like people in the “male enhancement” ads on TV.  (John… the owner of Petit Soleil was interviewed in Thrive… and his business was talked about.)  So here are these two smiling tourists… on Saturday morning… having probably just read Thrive and driven here from elsewhere the night before… on a happiness exploration mission no doubt… having had a scone and a few cups of  great coffee at the nicest B and B in town (I know about the coffee because my buddy Randy’s office used to be right behind Petit Soleil and we would go over and weasel free cups)… anyway… here are these two tourists… holding hands and smiling ridiculously as they walk down the sidewalk past the coin shop and the place that used to sell bean-bag chairs… Gleeful in that they are in the happiest place in America…

I approach them from the other direction… quietly in my head thinking: ” Uh oh…here come the  happiness tourists”

So I smiled back at them… and waved and said good morning in an overly enthusiastic Stepford Wives manner…

Which was received quite well actually…. They must have thought I was a very nice fellow.

And then a couple of seconds later a college kid in an amazingly loud diesel dual cab Dodge pickup… cut me off at the corner…


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