Scene of the Crime

Last night, while walking to Sprouts market for organic whole milk (yum), I came upon the strangest sight that took some seconds to comprehend. A chalked-like (paint, more likely) outline stretched out from the Stop sign at Florida and Meade into the street.

The graffiti mimics a crime scene, where the cops mark out where the body lays. Here, someone chose the long shadow cast by the traffic sign. I have to wonder if there is intent, meaning, and, ah, metaphor here.

Along this stretch of University Heights streets, San Diego has cordoned bike lanes, punctuated by traffic circles every few blocks. Now, towering lights massively illuminate intersections where there was modest brightness before—if any at all. At Alabama’s roundabout, for example, half the block along Meade is illuminated. Perhaps some resident doesn’t like the change and expresses his or her opinion.

If that individual views what the city is doing to the neighborhoods as a crime, so to speak, then there is something oh-so appropriate about the subtle, sarcastic method of protest. I love it. Parking spaces are removed to make way for bike lanes. Apartment buildings and so-called ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) pop up everywhere, but with no additional parking requirement if within half-mile of a bus stop. Building owners are encouraged to rip up grass and trees to save water. I could go on. But why bother?

Congestion is up. Carbon-removing trees are down. Heat rises as cooling canopies and greenery are replaced with cement and/or stones. Livability declines as population density increases but supporting infrastructure recedes. And is a Stop sign shadow symbolic enough? Yeah, why not?

Funny thing: The outline is completely unimpressive in daylight. I walked over for a look this morning, and the graffiti is hardly noticeable. But at night, the thing pops.

That brings us to the Featured Image, which I captured using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Composed as shot, this one is straight from the smartphone; no alterations. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 2000, 1/17 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 8:55 p.m. PDT.