I wanted to cry out at the news. I wanted to yell, “Can’t anyone please stay on this sinking ship with us? Please? Please? Please?” But instead, when yet another friend shared that they are leaving San Francisco to live in a city where a normal family can actually buy a house and where landing in an acceptable public school is less risky than a weekend in Vegas on crystal meth, I just said, “Oh. I understand.”
Because I do. Even as I watch my fellow renters compliantly following the stereotype and heading out of the City come kindergarten time, I understand their logic. But an ugly piece of me wants all those people to stick around.
This is deeper than a selfish desire to have lots of friends around. I want validation of my own choices. I want a like-minded clique of people who are “like us.” People who are educated, professional, perhaps even clever (if I say so myself.) People who shop at Trader Joe’s, want to raise gentle, bookish kids, and like to talk about religion and politics and Project Runway at the playground.
But these are also people who can’t swing a $400k down payment or shell out $70k annually to send 2 kids to that sweet little Quaker school that my bohemian bourgeois side quietly covets.
I wanted to beg my friend to stick it out, to make it work, to fight the power for Christ’s sake! Do what I am doing and follow my mom’s most useful piece of advice ever to “bloom where you are goddamn planted!”
But instead I kept my trap shut like a dutiful supportive pal. Damn.