Friday, May 6, 2011

San Francisco

Rants and raves about one of the top 3 cities I've ever lived in.

Oh San Francisco, how wonderful and miserable you are to me. Let's start with the things I love about you:

1. Craigslist and eBay. My sister met her baby daddy on Craigslist. The world gained 3 beautiful girls as a result. And eBay, oh the joy of being able to find that strange, odd, out-of-production spare part for a totally reasonable price. OK, I know I'm taking SF and making it "Bay Area" but whatever, this is the good side, so I can paint with as broad of a brush as I want to.

2. Muni and BART. Oh how I love thee. Nevermind that Muni totally sucked donkey butt when I lived here 14 years ago. That is forgiven. Electric buses rule, even when they break down, and public transportation totally kicks butt when it is useful, and Muni is actually useful. If I still lived in SF, I wouldn't bother owning a car. Maybe a scooter or motorcycle, but not a car. Public transportation makes so much sense that it will never be a part of the idiotic so-cal lifestyle where we run away from things that make sense.

3. Urban hipness. I don't even belong within 50 feet of the corner coffee shop, Farleys. The hipsters that hang out there tolerate me only because I don't pretend to be one of them. The coffee rules, and it's not even expensive. The barista on Thursday was sporting a mohawk and an NWA t-shirt with cut-off sleeves, talk about uuuuuuber cool! Oh, and if you want yuppie coffee, SF is the home of Peet's. Coffee and SF are like peanut butter and chocolate.

4. Women. SF has by far, hands down, the coolest women in any place I've ever lived. I'm constantly amazed at how friendly, sexy, down to earth, and open to just about any conversation that women are in this town. Maybe it's the plethora of gay me that puts the numbers game upside down or maybe it's the wouldn't-want-to-be-anywhere-else happiness, or perhaps it's the independence of making it in a real city without the NYC attitude. Whatever the formula, if you are a woman and you live in SF, you pretty much rule.

5. Bicycles. This town isn't super bike-friendly, but it's better than many and it's getting better every year. There are green bike lanes on Market Street. There are clearly marked bike lanes through the Mission. There are tons and tons of bike racks to lock your bike to. And there are cute as hell, punk rock chicks riding bikes at all hours of the night in boots. But maybe this is getting too close to 4...

OK, now, to be fair, I need to rant a bit, because I left SF once, and I'd leave you again if I had to do it all over again.

1. SF, you have the most bipolar weather I've ever seen. Thursday was gorgeous, warm, sunny, beautiful, blue skies, absolute perfection. Friday was windy, cold and bitter. Ugh. There is a reason why everyone in SF wears down jackets, there's no other way to handle the spontaneous temperature extremes.

2. Parking. Oh how I do not miss parking in SF.

3. Waiting for a table at dinner and eating late. Fortunately we did OK dealing with this, but it does make a noticeable difference as I get older and grumpier. Who wants to make a reservation 8 months in advance? I don't. And who can afford or wants to deal with a big kitchen and trips to the grocery store when you live in urban utopia?

4. Dogs. SF is a very dog friendly town, but it's still not a fantastic place to raise your pooch. There are very few open spaces and even fewer which allow dogs. Marin is better, but you pay out the nose for that. You can't have it all, and I am a fan of my canine friends.

5. Garages. If you have a garage in SF, you are lucky. If you have a private garage which is usable for something other than one small vehicle, you are flying high. In so-cal, you get a 2 car garage with just about every residence.

San Francisco, my heart is still there, but until global warming takes hold and bumps up the average temp by 10 degrees, I have to say that I prefer San Diego :)

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