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Here to tell you where you can go

It’s that time of year again. Some call it summer. Many of us just call it life in the slow lane — whether you want to be there or not.

Truth be told, I do not begrudge summer visitors. Their presence simply emphasizes what makes us crazy all year round — too many cars, not enough road, not enough beach parking places.

The fact is, the tourists know when it’s time to leave unlike those of us who stay here, come gridlock or growing class sizes.

I have to admit I was surprised to read that a survey by the San Diego Association of Governments, SANDAG to its friends, found that a good percentage of Californians are considering heading out of town.

I understand. I feel their pain. So why are they still ahead of me on the freeway every day?

The primary angst of SoCal dwellers is rocketing home prices, with traffic a close second. If you aren’t lucky enough to already own something, your prospects are bleak. And those same folk agree it will only get worse if people come to fill the new homes being thrown up.

May I make a suggestion? How about we reroute that money earmarked for more freeways and instead use it to pay these gracious but unhappy people airfare and moving expenses to the non-Southern California location of their choice? I vote yes.

I would like to take this moment to remind everyone that in at least 40 of our 50 states, you can buy acres of lushly landscaped property plus a 40,000-square-foot home for less than half of what it might cost you here. And remember how much fun basements are? (Especially during tornadoes.)

Think about roads that flow easily, even between 3 and 7 p.m. And with what you saved on your house, you might even be able to afford a new car to drive on those roads (although none of them lead to the beach).

Think about life on a lake where you can swim, fish or boat without waves knocking you about (shhh! — do not say the word mosquito) and where grass leads up to the water. No more sand in your suit, your sandwich or your eyes. Now doesn’t that have some appeal?

Oh. Picture acres of trees turning yellow and scarlet in the crisp autumn air (do not mention raking). Think of the exquisite beauty of the first snowfall, where the world is white and silent.

See yourself sitting in front of a roaring fire wearing those gorgeous winter wools, boots and even furs you could buy with a clear conscience. (OK, who brought up scraping ice off your car windshield at 6 a.m., snow tires and shoveling the walk?)

Well, think about small, friendly towns where everyone knows each other and there are only three streetlights. Imagine lower teacher-pupil ratios, avenues free from constant backups, and the absence of road rage.

Picture driving 10 miles in 10 minutes. If half of you would stop talking to survey people on the phone and pack, we’d have all that here again.

Hey. SANDAG brought it up, not me.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who remembers driving 10 miles in 10 minutes. Contact her at [email protected].

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