Why I (mostly) Hate San Francisco

Diana, the coolest pharmacist ever over at mymarblerye (I've always wondered what that blog name meant), will soon be relocating cities for her fiance's residency (did I get that right)?  She asked why I hate San Francisco, something I mentioned -- OK, shouted -- in the "about me" on my blog.

Sidenote: My "about me" is sub-par, I will change it soon, or better yet try and learn how to make an about me tab.  Anyone care to help? tabs? how?

I'd love to answer her for a few reasons.

1) Whenever I have the minority opinion on something (Black Swan was awful! The Last Airbender was not that bad! Glee? seriously? cummon!), I feel the need to burst forth with enough blabber to make up for the many people who do not agree with me.  SF is one of the most adored cities on earth, so I am clearly in the minority for hating it.

2) Diana may actually be curious as she is making a big decision about where to move.

3) Diana is one of my baby blogs first commenters, which means I worship her, and will devote an entire blog post to whatever she asks.

ON BALANCE, I hate SF.  But I will also talk about what I love about it, which is just a smaller list.

San Francisco Sucks (IMO!) Because... 
1) I went to law school, which already taints everything with misery, in a part of SF called the Tenderloin.  It is very close to the civic center, and the theater district, which means a lot of tourists accidentally wander into this farthole.  

can you smell that?

It is called the tenderloin either 1) (my theory) because there is a lot of prostitution, or 2)(this is a stretch but I read it HERE) because cops get paid so much for patroling here that they can afford the nice things, like best cuts of meat.

The Tenderloin reeks of urine.  I will not exaggerate, I have seen over a dozen penises in the past year whipped out, peeing right on the sidewalk.  

I have seen dozens of saggy weathered boobs of women too cracked out to know whether they are a smurf or a unicorn.  

I have been whipped in the face, on purpose, by the thick braids of an angry tranny.  

I have been offered drugs about 209384,993 times (good comma placement).

Students laptops have been stolen right out of their hands.  

I have been leered at with a pirate knife pulled out while said knife-holder stumbled and threatened me

I have seen cars being broken into.

I have heard gunshots, seen people tackled by undercover cops, and walked by a childrens playground everyday that says "ADULTS PROHIBITED UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY CHILDREN".  ick.

"BUT ROSERUNNER", you say, "it sounds like you hate the Tenderloin, not SF.  And every city has an armpit!"  

To which I say, "my name is not roserunner, and let me continue."

2) Parking is madness.  

It is truly smart to have a Smart Car in SF

Parking is impossible to find, and incredibly expensive.  I use public transportation most of the time (BART is the underground train which twentysixandthensome knows very well), but it stops running at midnight and it is unsafe for me to walk home from BART in Oakland after 7:00 pm.  

This means that evenings when we visit friends in the Mission district, or go to a concert at The Fillmore, we have to drive, and parking is a bloody nightmare.

which leads me to:

3) The city is a sardine can.  

It is 140 degrees in there

It is so crowded and jam-packed with people.  This makes visiting the beautiful nature-y parts a little less ideallic and romantic when you are surrounded by 6000 people and 4000 dogs. 

This is why parking is a mess, why I intimately get to know the 10 people smushed against me on the BART, and why the amazing restaurants in the city are impossible to get into (I have wanted to go to Tartine forever, but am intimidated by the lines).

OH, and DON'T get me STARTED on the traffic.  It is statistically one of the most grid-locked in the nation.

4) It is very expensive.  

This is true of most big cities, true, but SF is a very small city with an enormous number of residents, making space very valuable, very crammed (my grandparents home in the Sunset District is the norm -- there is about 0.5 inches between it and the neighboring houses), and very expensive.  

Your backyard is one sidewalk tile

Yet somehow, it really sucks to be a landlord in SF because the local laws are extraordinarily pro-tenant.  This means an 80 year old who has lived in their apartment for 50 years pays 20% the rent that a new move-in pays, and new move-ins have an even more marked up rent to make up for the 80 year old next door, which really makes these pro-tenant laws suck a lot for any new tenants.

Other expensive things: parking (see above), bridge toll ($4-$6, depending on time of day), inevitable parking tickets, fancy food, cleaning pee off all your pants and shoes.

5) The weather.

You know you've heard the famous quote (Mark Twain?) -- "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco".   

Fog can be beautiful, in small doses, but over time it becomes very gloomy, dangerous (for driving), and depressing.  It is gray very often, windy even more often, and the beaches are gray water on gray sand, not blue water on beige sand. 

The Usual

please note: this January has been kind of awesome here in the bay.  global warming? bring it.

6) Triple H threat -- Hipsters, Hippies, Homeless

I truly appreciate all sorts of people, and have nothing against the above three categories.  In fact, this barely belongs on the list of bad things about SF.  

But fair warning that if you are not one of the above three, you may feel slightly out of place.  This is the hipster capital of the world I tell you, and if you can't hang with the coolest of the cool mustacheod-bearded-tattoed-skinny jeans-musician-artist peeps, then you will feel like an outsider.

I feel like an alien every time I step near the Mission.  Or North Beach (less hipster, more hollywood). 

Dolores Park, Hipster mecca

And while I'm complaining about people, I've always found SF people to be considerably less friendly than people in Los Angeles (where I lived for 5 years during undergrad). 

ohhh stereotypes.  Moving on.

San Francisco Rocks (IMO) because...

1) The beauty can be breathtaking.  The bay area is beautiful.  

2) Local, organic, fancy this, fancy that.  Point being there is amazing food, both at markets and restaurants.

3) Culture.  There are amazing museums and cultural neighborhoods (chinatown, italian north beach, mexican mission, little saigon, etc).

4) Politics.  Whether you agree with the politics or not, SF is a very progressive, outspoken, and aggressive city that breaks ground on many policies (first city, I think, to ban plastic grocery bags)

5) Running routes.  This one really helps me tolerate the city.  Run the perimeter of the city or Golden Gate Park, and you'll be a happy runner.

6) Shopping.  It's got the big mall like any good city does.  I actually prefer the Sun Valley mall in Concord, or any mall in Los Angeles, but SF has a good shopping scene. 

That will do.  To recap, if I had to describe SF in one word, it would be dirty.  Three words: dirty, expensive, and pretty.

And I have made some amazing memories here.  The proof is in the pudding photos.

boat cruise from Pier 39

Hike in Muir Woods, just North of the city

Camping in Marin Headlands