But last night, one element made the scene unique.
While a helicopter -- spotlight beaming -- is clearly visible in the sky, it's still difficult to determine distance and triangulate the city blocks above which it hovers. It's easy to dismiss the neighborhood it's surveying as being far beyond my own, even as I hear the blades turn.
The proximity was not in question this time.
A voice boomed from the helicopter's loudspeaker. A 7-11 had just been robbed and a description of the suspect was announced. They asked people with information to contact the police immediately.
Two thoughts arrived in succession.
The first thought formulated after a quick flow dialogue with Juliana.
"Where are the 7-11's?" I asked. "I know of two in the area."
We said the locations out loud... Meade and 30th... Texas and University. We lived between both locations -- six blocks away from each. Not good.
Despite its risks, I love my neighborhood. It's arguably the most diverse neighborhood in San Diego. It's vibrant, artsy, has great restaurants and everything is in walking distance from my place. This is why the helicopter announcement made me sad, because all of these wonderful things collide with a sometimes violent reality. It's nice to pretend that everything is safe and happy until a booming voice from a police helicopter tells me otherwise.
The second thought followed.
The announcement made from the helicopter's loudspeaker was crystal clear. I heard every enunciated word as if the pilot was standing in front of me. So how is it possible that a voice projected a half-mile away from a noisy helicopter is clearer than that of a fast-food drive-through speaker? Please, fast-food restaurants, spend the extra $17.50 for a better speaker. Otherwise, I'll start having a helicopter deliver my food.
Addendum: The San Diego Union Tribune issued the following news story:
Gunman with bandanna robs store in North Park
SAN DIEGO: A man with a gun robbed a North Park convenience store
Tuesday night, San Diego police said. The robber walked into the 7-Eleven on Meade Avenue near 30th Street just before 9 p.m. and demanded money from the clerk, police said.
The man was described as black and in his late teens, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a thin build. He was wearing a red bandanna over his face; a gray, hooded sweat shirt; knee-length jeans; and white tennis shoes. No one was injured.