Before getting all introspective and misty-eyed, let's get the bad out of the way first. There are still things that drive me insane about this city. Here are a few:
- The Road: The drivers here may be worse than those in Boston. I mean, do you really not pull out into the center when turning left at a light? Seriously? You're just gonna sit still and hold up everyone else? Yes, oh yes, you are. And there are far too many BMWs in this city, and 83% of the occupants of said cars are shitheads. (I have a number of friends who drive BMWs...you guys are in the 17%.)
- Lack of Diversity: For all its "liberalism" and such, San Francisco is very clique-y. Neighborhoods are almost sectioned off for a particular subset of people. This does not rule. Where I live is one of the very few parts of the city where it feels like a mixed bag. And no, I won't create a separate bullet-point for hipsters. You already know the tight-jean wearing, big sunglass suckbags drive me insane. I try and turn a blind eye (Is that the expression?).
- Bikers: Seriously, I think it's great that you're biking and not driving a car. It's better for your health, the environment and you get to show off your fat hipster ass (dammit, I said it. Wait, not a bullet point), but get over yourselves. The streets were not paved for your single-gear piece-of-crap Huffy.
All that said, I have fallen for San Francisco. I have now lived here a little over five years, and about a year ago a shift started to occur. Maybe it's why I didn't leave earlier, despite all of my complaints. Perhaps I was just waiting for something to sink in. And boy has it.
I spend entire days walking around this city, often through the same paths and neighborhoods that I've walked through hundreds of times. But there's always something new. On almost every corner of this stunning city, you can be struck by something. And on many of those corners, you'll witness a view that can almost drop you to your knees. The hills, peaks, parks, trees, and vast green of this city make it absolutely spectacular. It's like a city buried in a garden. To my senses, Golden Gate Park and Central Park are no comparison. Not even close. The wildlife, colors, hills and ponds that make up Golden Gate should be reserved for poetry or something. And almost everywhere you turn in this city there's a park. And dogs! Everywhere! A few hours in Duboce Park can clean a man's soul. Oh goodness that sounded awful, but seriously, it kinda can.
Man have the people grown on me. I feel more at home in Alamo Square than I did in Park Slope and I thought Park Slope would be my home forever. There's a more genuine kindness around here, without having to part with the toughness of a city. I know my neighbors. A lot of them! And we hang out! When I leave my apartment around 630am every morning, by 645am I've already talked to 4-5 people I know. And we're not talking just a "hello." I'm talking makeout. Alright, I'm getting hyperbolic, but we do have meaningful chats, in addition to just greetings. People smile a lot more here. Maybe it's the weather. Or maybe they see the beauty of this city and it just settles one. Probably a bit of both and more.
I could really go on and on about my newly recognized love of San Francisco. And everything outside of San Francisco, from Pescadero and Mendocino to Pacifica and Yosemite. I'm not sure there's a better place to live in the world. Or at least in the U.S. I guess I'll always be an "East Coaster," but, in all likelihood, my time living on the right coast is over. I suppose that could change, but right now this coast feels right. Maybe I won't be in San Francisco forever; perhaps I'll hop on up to Portland or Seattle, but San Francisco up through the Pacific Northwest is where I want to be. Maybe forever.