Dear San Francisco,
There are so many reasons I love you. Your sights and sounds. The fog that wafts in and over you, keeping us cool and you subdued and vaguely mysterious. The fog horns that announce it. The view of the bay, downtown, and the Golden Gate Bridge towers as you drive in from Marin. Nooks and crannies, and alleys and stairways with names. Oh, and you have such good food. Thai, Italian, Indian, Japanese, fancy, cheap, sit-down, take out. And the ultimate food: a burrito from Gordo’s. How multi-faceted you are: you have quiet neighborhoods, museums, the beach, a National Park, bookstores, Chinatown, North Beach, the Mission. How could anyone ever get bored?
You certainly have your conveniences. MUNI goes within four blocks of almost anywhere in the City. And one can read a book or knit or daydream instead of driving and then searching for a parking place. There are plenty of late night groceries, drug stores, bookstores and bars for all our needs. Fifteen minutes to the airport and you are on your way to anywhere. You have nice neighbors, too: Berkeley, the Marin Headlands, the Russian River. Miles of hiking trails on the Peninsula, in the East Bay, up North.
But sometimes, my dear S.F., I fantasize about leaving you. Leaving you for a place less crowded. Especially on days like today when I happily went out to take my son to see a friend only to discover that someone had keyed not only the passenger side, but also driver side of my truck. My beautiful red truck, the first new vehicle that I have ever owned. You house some rotten people, I must say, City by the Bay. Sometimes I just want to get away to a friendlier place, a place where people stop at stop signs, don’t spit on the floor of the bus, say “thank you” when you spend money in their store. Yes, I take things too personally, but other things have been bugging me lately: graffiti on people’s homes makes me sad, trash on the sidewalks, too.
I know there are bad people everywhere, but there are just so many in your seven by seven square miles one can’t help but run into them often. And it is easy to be anonymous in a big city. Even though we are surrounded by people it is easy to think no one cares or notices what we do, the good and the bad. It really makes me sad sometimes to drive on the freeway, each of us in our little box. I’ve had lonely nights when I looked out the window, unable to count all the numerous lights in other homes, thinking I can’t be the only one needing a friend.
I know you think you have a pretty good hold on me. I was born here, have fallen in love here, had my heart broken here, grew up here, even went to college here, and now am raising my son here. You know how I enjoy taking him to the places I loved growing up. But don’t be so sure of yourself. Remember, I am married to a man who has lived in and loved many places. He would not hesitate to leave you for a new town. And I wouldn’t mind having some room. And some peace. And more than one Country music station. But there would have to be a taqueria. Even Hood River, Oregon has a taco truck, thoug. Better watch out, S.F., you are really ticking me off.