I always pause while driving up the street from my parents’ yellow, end-of-the-cul-de-sac house. My headlights fill the gap left by the sunken sun and illuminate my half of the mountain. Looking beyond this stretch of high beams, you can see the few hundred luminous spots that dot the valley below.
There are exactly three stoplights in Alpine. The rest of the dots are signatures of a few shops, one grocery store and thousands of homes housing families of well-off manual labor fathers with their stay home wives. Alpine is small but half the houses are big and spare garages are full of speedboats, RVs and dirt bikes. Not everyone has a stash of toys for weekends at the desert or river, though. There is one part of the main street where the apartment kids live in cubicles and just a stretch of freeway away is the Viejas Indian reservation. Its high rate of diabetes and suicide is tucked behind the brightness of the outlet mall and casino but locals know where to find it. (more…)