I recently moved to San Francisco after living in the D.C. area for 5 years. To say this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while would be an understatement.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed since moving here.
People are nice. I grew up in the South. Asheville, NC to be specific. Everyone loves to tell you about Southern Hospitality™ and how polite everyone is. Sure. Polite. But, not nice. I went to Philz one time after moving here. The barista was handing me my coffee over the counter. Before he gave it to me he said, “I hope this coffee inspires you to do great things this week”. “What did he put in this coffee”, I thought. A woman playing frisbee with her dog in Golden Gate Park wished my girlfriend and I to be as happy as she was with her dog. Total stranger. The list goes on. I can’t explain it or figure out why it’s like that here. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s all the drugs.
Drivers aren’t assholes. Yes, there are exceptions. Maybe this is just in stark contrast because I’m coming from DC. Drivers here wait as you use the crosswalk. Drivers back up when they stop too late. Honking is only used in extreme circumstances. In D.C. drivers treat you like your existence is screwing up their day. Letting you cross the street is a blessing. And honking is just a fun way to pass the time.
SF is not the Tech industry and the Tech industry is not SF. I sort of knew this before coming, but living here made it even more clear. Silicon Valley is the Tech industry. San Francisco has a lot of startups, but they just get to live in this cool place. They don’t make San Francisco what it is. The annoyance with Tech in SF is also quite palpable. I saw Fred Armisen perform at the Castro Theatre. Near the end he had a Q&A with the audience. There was an audible groan as a woman started her question with: “I’m in tech, so naturally I live in San Francisco.” I’m conflicted about what to do. I get it, I’m part of the problem. But, I don’t want to ruin the city or culture. I think I can start by supporting local artists who help reinforce what makes San Francisco great.
The weather is amazing. No use expounding on this. It’s temperate. Good for drinking coffee. Gets foggy where I live, but whatever. Here’s an illustration of temperatures in major cities. See how flat San Francisco’s is.
There’s still so much of San Francisco that I haven’t experienced yet. I think what makes San Francisco special is a collective feeling that anything is achievable. And that telling someone otherwise is not your place. It’s the common belief in not telling other people how to live.