Stores I Can Only Find in "Certain" Areas of Town (Special Santa Barbara Edition)
I have been working in the Santa Barbara for a few weeks now.
On the night that I was (superstititiously) following the Cubs (in my car in the motel parking lot using Facetime with the wife who showed me our TV screen after deciding that watching the TV in the hotel room was bad luck after turning on the TV to see Aroldis Chapman give up the 2-run home run to Rajai Davis to make it 6-6) welcome their first World Series victory, the first thing I did was converse with my motel neighbors who had seen and possibly heard me react to every little event.
Turns out that they were from LA too, the San Fernando Valley specifically. They too were here for work. They do/did floors. They’d been in Santa Barbara for months, commuting home to LA every Friday.
After trading talks about me being Filipino, them being Mexican, being married to a Mexican, me being born in Chicago, one of them actually living in Chicago, me living in Compton, them living in San Fernando, they asked me about where they could find a few stores.
99 Cents Store?
My work area having been more towards Goleta, I wasn’t sure where I could direct them (though on reflection there is an Orchard Supply Store on the Fairview exit in Goleta). Stores that I also gravitate towards and have lived on.
Not being able to find these stores within Santa Barbara didn’t surprise me at all. I joked that they would have to drive all the way to Oxnard to find those stores. We all had this somewhat implicit awareness of class and race associations with various brands.
They had searched for these stores, turns out that there was a Home Depot on Calle Real, though about 6 miles South from the Motel we were staying at, around Exit 101 on the 101 Freeway.
Even Autozone is coded as something associated with being Brown and working class. I don’t find them in Beverly Hills, but I sure as hell find them in Compton.
I needed coolant/antifreeze for my car whose engine thermometer was scarily reaching an unsafe level while I slowed to 40 on the freeway. I don’t know a ton about cars, but I know that I just wanted the Autozone brand because it had been the only coolant that I used.
I asked the local Santa Barbaran whom I was training, just where I could find an Autozone. He is a recent college grad who looks and talks like any other white guy, but apparently has some kind of Hispanic in him.
He knew of an O'Reilly's (which I know is around in Compton), but for Autozone, I searched the phone and found something in Santa Barbara.
He asked what area.
I showed him my phone.
He said, "is that downtown?"
I said I don't know.
He took a closer look. He said, "Oh yeahhh..." He knew what part of town it was.
I took a closer look. It said, "East Side."
Guess I'd located the part of town to get the good stuff cheap.