Disillusioned

I must admit that I’m giving much more consideration than ever before to just packing up and leaving the city formerly known as Sodom by the Bay.

It’s sad really. I love it here in many ways. San Francisco is a beautiful place, and I know I would miss the city terribly. This is home. I’ve lived here six years…far longer than anyplace else but Greensboro, the city where I was born. But I’m disillusioned, and I’m beginning to think my own personal California Dream may be just about used up.

It’s hard for me to justify the expense and the stress of living in a boom town. The ridiculous rents. The fear of living in the shadow of the newest loftominium. The threat of being forced out of my apartment on 30 days notice if the owner decides to sell. The knowledge that there would be no place in the city for me to go if this happened.

But there’s more. The idiots who drive (and live) like they’re still in Houston or Denver or Atlanta or whatever other boom town they just moved from. The Starbucks on every corner. The crowds at the movies…at the ATM…at Safeway…in restaurants…on the bus…everywhere…

San Francisco is a boom town. People who don’t have the financial or career status to cope are no longer welcome here. The whole tone of the city is changing. The working class, the artists, and anyone else who can’t (or won’t) buy into the new corporate culture of San Francisco are an endangered species. It’s all career and conspicuous consumption, fueled by the voodoo economies of Silicon Valley and Montgomery Street, among other things.

The new order is not my cup of tea, obviously: a multitude of drones with no moral center or respect for the place they’ve invaded. Vapid corporate slaves in ugly new buildings who don’t know (or care) what they destroyed in the process. And their employers: corporations with even fewer morals which exist not to produce a “product”, but to become an attractive takeover target, providing quick cash for the founders and unemployment for the rest.

This is a population which could vote a chain like Chevy’s “best Mexican restaurant” and Nordstrom “best place to buy men’s and women’s clothing”.”Expensive” and “cute” are fast becoming the two most descriptive terms for almost everything here. “Generic” is a close third.

Of course, it’s all going to crash soon. How long can we sustain a paper economy where no actual goods are produced? How long can the idea of cute industrial condos remain trendy for the short attention spanned yupsters of the late 1990s? At some point, the boom will become a liability, even for businesses and developers. Eventually, people will decide San Francisco is not special enough to justify the cost of living here.

And they’ll be completely correct. The people who made San Francisco special won’t be living here anymore. So many have already left. Many more are leaving, or are seriously considering it. There’s a pervasive sense of hopelessness and doom among many creative people…among many of my friends. San Francisco as we used to know it is over. It’s history. Period.

The most deeply disturbing aspect of this whole thing, I think, is that so few people seem to be concerned about it. I expected more from San Francisco.

I’m tired of complaining about it and wishing things were still the way they used to be. I’m tired of our stylishly arrogant mayor and his slimy developer/banker friends. When reading about the history of the city, I no longer get excited about the foundations of what we have. History now reads more like a eulogy for what we’ve lost. I don’t have any illusions that things are better anyplace else; I simply wonder if it’s worth the effort paying a premium to live someplace which is becoming so very much LIKE everyplace else.

I’m just tired. And I don’t think I’m deriving enough benefit to make the city worth the hassle and risk anymore. Leaving would be a sound investment decision. I’m sure the newcomers would understand.

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