Friday, June 24, 2011

Dear San Francisco,

We're breaking up. I know, it's hard. I do love several things about you (amazing food options, hills, always wacky people watching, a never ending list of things to do that I don't actually do). We've had a good run. I was born here, I grew up here, I only left to go to college but was back most summers. But as with most relationships (at least in my experience), this one has gone on too long. We settled into that comfortable place with each other but aren't really happy and now one of us needs to make a move. So I'm making it. I am sorry, it has been fun. Mostly. Kinda.

I'd say it's not you, it's me. But it's kinda you. For all the things that are great about you, there is an equal and opposing thing that sucks.

1. The weather. Sure, temperate weather is great. Never too hot, never too cold. But fog, necessitating a hoodie from June-August with MAYBE a couple nice days in between if we're lucky, is more than I can handle. It makes me grumpy. I don't like being grumpy. And fun fact: it is a quirk of my nature that I actually thrive in pulsating 90 degree humidity. Yeah, I don't get it either. But it's a fact. So I'm off to find someplace that is more consistently warm. Where I can watch a baseball game in a tank top at night. Where I can own less than 15 sweatshirts.

2. The food. The food is amazing. It is. I'm not gonna lie. A new, exciting restaurant is opening all the time. From Ethiopian to German to Argentinian and back again, with plenty of "California cuisine", you do really have it all. I could happily eat the rest of my days in SF and never have to go to a chain restaurant or fast food joint. That's amazing. But with that comes some of the most god awful fucking pretentious foodie assholes EVER. No one just EATS food here. No. They tweet about it. They take pictures of it. They expound on the flavor profile like they're Padma on Top Chef. And it's difficult to sometimes just get food. Ya know. Food food. Pasta. Steak. Chicken. It's not chicken fried steak in SF. It's short ribs fried in tempura batter. The people talking about it are insufferable. I can't  read my twitter time line without wanting to stab someone for their pretentious foody-ness. This extends to cocktails too. Finding just a dive bar is becoming a challenge. I want a dark banquete and a well made gimlet. It's all locally sourced fruit juices with housemade simple syrup costing like $15. (And yes, I'm a bit guilty of doing what I accuse everyone of above, but I recently realized how fuck all annoying it was and I've vowed to stop. I'm just gonna enjoy my meal. No one else needs to KNOW I'm enjoying it.)

3. The size. This city is compact in geographical area. On a good day, you can drive all around it, up and down the hills, in about 45 minutes. Pretty impressive, right? It takes 45 minutes just get THROUGH Houston on I-10, with all the real estate that sprawl has annexed. (I hate Houston. A lot.) Now, some people would think that living in a close knit big city is a great thing. And it can be. Going on an adventure really means you're not that far from home, and can return to its safety relatively easily. On the other hand: I can't tell you how claustorphobic this makes me. You run into the same people all. the. time. And if you're from here? If you grew up here and went to high school here? Meeting a "new" person really means you are likely no more than 3 degrees away from someone you know. Example: The Russian? It took five minutes of conversation to figure out he knew one of my law school classmates. This is not unusual.

In fact, this was tweeted by my high school today: "RT @(redacted) class reunion at the game tonight. Then again what Friday night Giants game isn't an SI reunion?"

This is true. This is annoyingly true. Go to any bar by the ballpark before a game and you will inevitably run into people you went to high school with. I hated high school, for the record.

It can be amusing. Like when I was at North Beach fest last weekend, talking to the owner of a booth who I knew and suddenly this guy is all up in my personal space, pushing in between my dad and I. I was about to deck him. "EXCUSE ME! Personal space!" (Not really, I was just gonna make nasty comments about him when I walked away.) He stood there for a minute longer, made a comment like, "Huh, interesting." I finally looked up and registered that I knew him. Someone I would consider a friend who I hadn't seen in years. I smacked him on the shoulder, "You're a JACKASS! I was wondering who was butting in here!" He is both my dad's co-worker AND an alumni of my HS, three classes ahead of me.

Sure, sure, when you're from here, getting into all those fancy pretentious restaurants can be a bit easier because you know someone who knows someone. But I don't like being known. At least not how I'm known here. And I especially don't like being known through everyone else. But you've heard this lament many times before. It's nothing new. It's just, well, San Francisco, I finally can't stand it anymore.

4. Family. Ugh. Family. I love them. I do. They're all great in their own fantastically quirky wonderful ways. But. Well. They're a lot easier to love from far away when they can't be all, "So what is your life plan? Why aren't you working? I don't understand why you can't just walk into MoFo and get a job."

Now, maybe, just maybe, I'd feel differently about this city if I was, I dunno, living in the TenderNob (seriously? When did we start making up stupid names for all these neighborhoods?) and I had my own circle of single friends and a cute little apartment. But I don't. And cultivating those relationships is much more difficult than one would imagine because, well, see #3.

5. History. We have too much of it. A city established during the Gold Rush, with restuarants dating back that far has some tales to tell. Hanging at the actual Mission Dolores and knowing that North Beach was once, in fact, a beach. It's important to know the genesis of a place. But our personal history? It contains baggage that no one forgets. No matter how far I come, or the strides I take, I'm still perpetually the awkward 14 year old here.

As with any break up (again, in my experience), this is gonna take some time. I know initially this is gonna be difficult. And, unfortunately, I can't move all my stuff out today and make a clean break. I gotta figure things out, a place to go. Ya know how it is. It's always messy. But after that...

And it is mostly me, not you. You've truly done nothing wrong, per se. You're a funny, gorgeous, brilliant, gleaming city. But...well, I need a little distance and time to figure out who I am without you. To grow up. To try and make a go of it on my own. I'm not saying I won't meet someone else and say forever. It's a possibility. But with my Baton Rouge dalliance, I came back. Maybe one day, someday, we will meet again and it'll work. I just think I need to see what else is out there and then decide if I want this, CHOOSE this, not just have it be the default position, ya know?

So, I'm sorry, but for now, we've gotta be apart.

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