Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Take Down

Thought Catalog recently posted an article titled "How to Live in San Francisco for a Short Period of Time". It's been making the rounds. I finally read it today when my Floridian friend IMed it to me. Rather than just rant about it, or applaud the things that are right, I thought I'd do a line by line take down of it right hurr. So you get the original article and Lisa snark in the parentheses. (You should probably read the original article first as I have lots of comments. Naturally.)

Have this perception of San Francisco as being this giant cloud of love (where is the pronoun? You could have added the pronoun and made this a better sentence. Related: this is why I stopped reading Thought Catalog. Also: cloud of love? Geezus). People must do lots of acid, hug each other in the streets and be really really happy (because it's still 1968 here? It's a city. Complex like any other city.). Move to the city and quickly discover that the only people still doing acid have been tripping for thirty years (this is true). They hang out in the upper Haight, which is like Times Square for hippies (that's the best analogy you got? It's more like East Village for hippies or...I dunno, but Times Square?), and hang out with teenage runaways and their ten dogs (no, they don't. The teenage runaways and their dogs are actually asshole trustafarians who can afford to live on the street because mommy & daddy pay for this lifestyle. And they aren't hippie peace loving runaways but arrogant little disdainful punks who cause lots of problems in the Haight. But they do have nice dogs.)

San Francisco is a city where the beautiful and ugly coexist (fair enough). The projects are situated next to a multi-million dollar Full House home (oh you beautiful idiot. No one with any sense of ties to this place ever refers to the "Full House home" because anyone with a lick of sense knows that the one exterior shot of Full House you ever see has no real relation to this city. You should have said, "The beautiful Victorian painted ladies are situated..." Why not the Mrs. Doubtfire house? (because they weren't alive for that, this will become painfully obvious later) Additionally: the beautiful and ugly coexist because this is a teeny tiny city where space is at a premium). You’ll pay $1300 a month in rent in the Mission for a view of two crackheads shooting up in an alleyway (this is true. Unless you, like me, live at home because the thought of $1300 a month for rent is obscene. And you don't have $1300 a month for rent). This unlikely marriage of destitute poverty and bourgie princess (my friends call me this. Not the bourgie part, but it's implied. Sigh) creates a tension in the city that is alternately terrifying and exhilarating (Sure. I guess. Kinda).

Never eat so well and so affordably in your life. Laugh when people suggest that Los Angeles or New York have the best food. Um, have they been to the Slanted Door or Pancho Villa? (Okay: Slanted Door? That's your go to for cheap, excellent food? It's pretty damn good, sure, but cheap? Hell to the no. And it also is sort of over now, isn't it? Was super hip like 4 years ago. Should have referenced all the new food trucks or something. I actually love Pancho Villa so no complaints there.) New York can’t even do Mexican food (truth). That alone disqualifies it from the competition. San Francisco can master any kind of cuisine and it can do it on a budget. (Also, as someone who lived in Louisiana: you should try New Orleans. Not for the Mexican, which they also don't do, but cheap food done right? Yeah.)

Be shocked by how much weed is smoked in San Francisco (this shouldn't be shocking, really. It's true, but not shocking). It’s perhaps more popular than smoking cigarettes (because it's more healthy, you insipid moron). Understand that everyone is on drugs in San Francisco (hyperbole! I'm not!), but they’re also a weird health nut (also am not). People take bong rips and go to yoga (What's wrong with being relaxed before going to do an exercise that is essentially a form of meditation? Doesn't this make logical sense?). They’ll do hallucinogens and then go on the Master Cleanse to purify their body (who the hell are you hanging out with?). This contradictory lifestyle may be confusing but you can’t really question it (sure you can). After all, this is San Francisco. People pay high rents to be…high. (That sentence is just weak sauce. People pay high rents to live where the views are spectacular, the culture is pretty bustling, there are like minded individuals and an accepting lifestyle. Do YOU want to go back to Kansas or wherever you came from? I don't think so.)

Get frustrated by the tiny size of the city. Feel like it’s the biggest small town you’ve ever lived in. Run into everyone you know when you go out. Spend time at the same bars making out with the same people. Start to feel a little bored and get embarrassed about it. You’re living in San Francisco! How could you be getting restless? There’s so much to see, so much to do, so many joints to smoke in Dolores Park. What is wrong with you? (I completely endorse this paragraph as something I have complained about this fair city many many times. It's true. Glad everyone realizes it.)

Live in the Sunset district and laugh at the irony of it being one of the few places in the city that never gets any sun (HEY! YOU STOLE MY LINE! Fucker.) (at least he didn't call it the 'funset', which you all really need to cut the fuck out). Have a schizophrenic chase you down the street for a dollar. Be surrounded by mentally ill drug addicts 24/7 and feel a pit begin to develop in your stomach (are you living in the TL? There are plenty of places not full of mentally ill drug addicts in this city). Go to the Marina on accident and marvel at the amount of rich baby girl brats who must’ve lost their way to L.A. Think to yourself, “This is the neighborhood for the people who don’t make sense in San Francisco.” (Alright, rant time: The Marina is freaking gorgeous. It has lots of cute shops and restaurants and people from SF do actually live there. The dentist I've been going to my entire life is on Chestnut Street. I love Izzy's steakhouse. If you head to the Marina bars, yes, they are fratastic places that can be full of douches/"baby girl brats". So: don't go there! Or go there and accept that that's what it is. Or go there, like I do, and make fun of it for what it is while simultaneously enjoying the sort of college vibe of the places. Additionally: if you think your Mission hipster bar or your Polk St./Cow Hollow bars are REALLY any different, you're kidding yourself. You all have your own brand of asshole. So please: a moratorium on making fun of Marina bars. There really HAS to be a better joke out there.)

As frustrating as it can be, understand that there is something truly magical about SF. The city casts a spell over you and even in the moments when you totally hate it, you’re still like, “I’m obsessed with you, you stoner freak of a city.” (Yes, it definitely has it's enchanting moments.)

Know that your time here is running out. You want to move to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles or New York (so you want to move to all the similar but slightly different cities? Okay). You just need a change. San Francisco can’t be the last stop for you. Promise yourself that you’ll move back eventually when you’re older and want something more mellow, and 70% believe it. (I am actually 100% in this boat right now.) When you tell people you lived in San Francisco, they will say “OMG, I’ve just always loved that city. I feel like I could live there.” (I have never met anyone who has said this. Probably related: I hate about 90% of people and rarely talk to strangers.) The city gets no bad reviews from visitors. (Guess you've never talked to a tourist on Powell Street in shorts in July...) You mention L.A. or New York and some people will be like. “Nope. Not for me.” (Agreed. I would last five minutes in L.A. I know it's not my place at all.) San Francisco, however, always elicits a positive response. Laugh to yourself because you know these people will never live there (and you're now a smug elitist who can be all, "Yeah, I lived in San Francisco for five minutes five years ago. It was awesome" DIF). They just saw it in movies and pop culture like you did and fell in love with it. (No, seriously, how long have you lived here? A year? Less? And more to the point, how long have you been alive that you think movies and pop culture give an accurate representation of a place? "I'm going to move to New York and it'll be JUST LIKE Sex And the City!" No one does that. If they do, I don't want to know.) To live in San Francisco is to know the complete clashing picture. You loved it though. You’re going to move back at, like, 30. Yeah. That sounds like a good age to live in San Francisco. 30. (Oh, cuz 30 is old? Yeah, gfy. Hard. Btw: You won't be able to afford it here in 6 years when you're 30. Rent is going to keep going up and hopefully we will price out you city hopping jackasses by then. Contempt born of my native status.)

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