October 2009 home page


Information Please!
Art Olson | Avenida Primavera

Shirley King in the Info booth.  Photo by Art Olson.

As summer was drawing to a close, my wife volunteered the two of us to man the DMVA’s Information Booth next to the Powerhouse for a couple of hours one Saturday afternoon. It was a sunny but windy day and the park and beaches were full of people. I was curious to see who visits Del Mar, and what they wanted to know.

Clearly the most frequent question and urgently sought after information was the location of the nearest toilet. While the newly installed info-maps scattered around town indicate a restroom at the park – the actual destination is well hidden behind the stone wall of the Powerhouse, and with no clear signs pointing the way our visitors need a lot of help.

There were other urgent matters that required our attention – specifically lost children who had been spotted by caring bystanders and brought to us for assistance. Remarkably, the children were much more blasé about their unattached state than the concerned bystanders – and thankfully so, as their parents quickly retrieved them, once their charges had encamped for a brief time at our booth.

Action seekers also approached us, wanting to find out what was happening in Del Mar – and hoping we could direct them to a good time. While Shirley and I tried, we were probably not the best people to answer those querries – aside from the wonderful choice of restaurants, we were at a loss to point them to any more action than what they had in front of them at the moment.

Then there were the simply curious – interested to find out something about Del Mar itself from in-the-flesh residents (of the 1000 or so people we saw during our booth-time, we recognized only one other Del Marian). One woman wanted to know the nature of the building beside us. After my 5-minute exposition on the history and evolution of the Powerhouse, she was more than satisfied – as the glazed look in her eyes indicated.

A man visiting from Utah was apparently baffled by the people whom he saw periodically scanning through the trash bins in the park scavenging bottles and cans. Having never seen anything like it in his home state he asked us for the explanation. Trying to put a positive spin on it, we extolled the virtues and economics of recycling.
Finally there were those who were more suspicious than curious – asking the “meta” question – what kind of information were we offering, anyway? Did we have a petition to sign, a political or religious message to get across? They, of course, were somewhat disarmed when we told them we were just there to help, and to answer their questions about Del Mar.

If you are interested in volunteering for an enlightening experience contact Sissy Alsabrook through the Del Mar Village Association.


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