width="500" height="283" alt="The Lifeguard Tower" />
A typical beach scene, in the summer.
Soaring, redwood-studded, formerly-bear-infested mountain peaks undulate and eventually flatten out into the floodplane of the Mighty San LoZo River, which unceremoniously dumps into the Bay, creating the signature beach. The downtown (and my hood) is protected by a series of earthen dikes that may or may not keep us dry when the dam breaks. There is a lot of disagreement about where, exactly, Flip Flop is, in relation to various designations like "North" versus "South" and Bay Area vs Everywhere Else. Technically, its north of the Pajaro River, the ancient (and, perhaps spurious) medieval Spanish Norte/Sud California demarcation. The fact that most Flip Floppers think that Southern Califolks are SUV worshipping water stealers is a good indication that, while being Southish in our taste for tacos and open-toed footware, we identify with the North. We have our own watershed, and that water ain't going anywhere. We also don't put the article in front of the freeway number, proving that our speech is truly norteno. As for being under the irresistible pull of the money grubbing Bay Area, we say no. Although money might pull us out of the womblike confines of the city limits, Flip Floppers don't talk fast enough, drive big enough cars or use the stale computer-ese argot to be true Bay Areans.
Population-- hippies, woodsies, rednecks, dot com millionaires seeking nature, crunchy homeless,
aimless artists, service workers, children, commuters, mechanics, surfers, students, confederates, communists,
fascist bicycle advocates, anarchists (they recently went underground when their leader's
mother stopped paying the rent on their headquarters), farmers, farm workers, zine writers,
rockabillies, christian tattoo artists, astrologers, crystal healers, feng shui masters, chefs, policemen, dolphins, the Pink Umbrella Man, pelicans, seagulls, feral cats, trailer park folk, tourists, fishermen, beach bums, hobos, buskers, schizophrenic uncles and massage therapists.
Ancient (possibly spurious) History Byte
Beware, you Unionist Pigs!
Supposedly, during the Civil War, the Flip Flop Mountain People identified themselves as Confederates (the Hose people, naturally contrary, sided with the Union) and used that as an excuse to raid the Wells Fargo wagons when they travelled through the mountains over the Old Road. Tension between Hose and Flip Flop still festers beneath the surface. I had a conversation with a Hoser recently, and I bristled at her attitude that Flip Flop merely existed so that she could have a place to play in the surf and get drunk. If you pay attention to the writing on the freeway underpasses you'll see phrases like "valleys go home."
The influence of the original settlers is still strongly felt at this typical mercado.
Special thanks to Currer for sharing his colorful (and possibly spurious) local history.