My friend Kendra, who is also from West Texas, wrote this funny thing about what she’s learned in 14 years of living in L.A. I now attempt to counter her wit with 9 things I’ve learned about San Francisco in the 9 years I’ve lived here:
- Never, ever, ever leave the house without a jacket. I don’t care if it is the one time in five years that the temperature gets above 85 degrees. I don’t care if you’ve been sweating your dreads off while banging a gong at Hippie Hill all day. It WILL be cold in about two hours. And when the lights go down in the city you don’t want to get caught without your hoodie.
- The regular-ish dad in the fleece hanging out at the playground with you and chatting about farmers markets and organic diapers and bitching about MUNI probably founded Thrasher magazine or played guitar in a band that Coldplay opened for in the 90s. He’s humble and he’s never going to talk about his inner badassness unless you nudge him. So go ahead ask him what he did before starting that software consulting firm.
- You can never dress too fancy or too weird. Cosby sweater with gaucho pants? Check. White sequined tuxedo? Check. Vintage prom dress (on a man) with KISS boots and a bondage harness and a Bobafet jetpack? Check. All in a day’s walk down any main thoroughfare. And those folks work in banking. If you want to really see the non-conservative dressers hit the sex shops on Folsom Street.
- People take intense pride in which MUNI line they ride, even as they bitch and moan and create blogs and write pithy Facebook status updates as an outlet for all their bitching and moaning. It’s sort of like rooting for the Dodgers.
- Speaking of baseball. The Giants. Make. People. Crazy.
- San Francisco is the most expensive cheap city in the world. You can go out to dinner and spend $1,000 or $10. Rents are cukoo. But groceries are cheaper than in most other parts of the country. Parking is outrageous. But public transportation is accessible. (Sometimes. See #4.)
- Everyone in the entire city is a creative. Some full time and some on the side. Your best friend does bookkeeping by day and interpretive burlesque dancing by night. That shy DMV employee is actually Banksy. (Just kidding.) (Maybe.) (See also #2)
- More transportation knowledge: Never cross a bridge on a holiday. Never take a car downtown on a Critical Mass day. Also, never take a car downtown on most other days.
- People are obsessed with their neighborhoods. (See also #4.) To the point where they (again) write ironic blogs and buy hoodies that say “The Richmond,” and sometimes refuse to go North of Market/South of Market/Anywhere Near Goddam Union Street. San Francisco is essentially a small city and folks like to make it even smaller by hyper-identifying with a micro part of town. This is actually a nice thing because it results in sort of mini-villages where people know their neighbors, support local vendors, and look after each other.
And to that I say, where’s my Marina hoodie? I’m going out.