Pillow Talk

There are many reasons I love my husband. One of the biggest is the fact that he can discuss urban planning in bed and do so intelligently. And I have a very rigorous definition of “intelligently” when it comes to this particular subject…

Stupid Oblivious Hippies

One thing I definitely won’t miss about San Francisco will be the stupid-ass hippie granola factor. Case in point: two of my neighbors were sitting out on the sidewalk playing a long, repetitive bongo drum duet for about a half hour late this afternoon. It was the same eight beats over and over again — enough to drive any sane person crazy — and I could hear it all the way in the back of the flat even with the windows closed. It was loud…

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I went downstairs to see how long they were planning to continue. I asked the thirtysomething guy and his twentysomething female companion if they’d be playing much longer.

“Oh, probably not.”

“Good, because I can’t hear myself think anywhere in my apartment.”

They promptly and without incident stopped their little performance and went inside. It wasn’t like they were being defensive or confrontational or anything. In fact, they almost seemed hurt that someone didn’t appreciate their musical “gift” to the neighborhood. What really bugged me was that stupid fucking deadhead kind of obliviousness, as if they couldn’t wrap their brains around the fact that not everyone on the block really wanted to listen to an hour’s worth of the same drum loop over and over again all night long. It just hadn’t even occurred to them, apparently…

I guess they just assumed that everyone else within range was as stoned and stupid as they were…

Video Geekery

My current big project (aside from moving) involves organizing and burning to DVD hundreds of music videos I’ve recorded over the years from old standbys like MTV and VH-1, and such gone but not forgotten sources as “Night Flight” on USA and “Night Tracks” on TBS, among others…

I’m also interspersing them where possible with nice, new clean copies recorded from VH-1 Classic. It was on that channel yesterday that I was reminded of my FIRST music video project back in 1982, when I got my first Beta format VCR. I managed to catch “It’s Raining Again” by Supertramp, which was the very first music video I taped on the old Beta VCR at age 17…

As I remember, I taped it the first time from HBO, along with “Our Lips Are Sealed” by the Go-Gos and “Allentown” by Billy Joel. HBO used to run music videos between movies. Those were the pre-MTV days on most cable systems, and you sort of grabbed these things where you could find them…

I’m SO Ready to Leave

As if I needed a reminder about why I’m leaving San Francisco, I walked out last night to find that my car had been broken into for the third time in less than a year…

Keep in mind that my car is a piece of crap, which gives off no vibrations that anything valuable might be kept inside. Generally, it gets “accessed” on rainy nights and the seats are always in the “recline” position. Nothing is ever missing from the car or the trunk. All this makes me pretty sure I’m a target more because some street person needs a dry place to sleep (or do God knows what else) and he’s pretty certain my dumpy Corolla doesn’t have an alarm…

But an extra $130 every three or four months for window glass is a small price to pay to make sure some crackhead is warm and cozy for the evening, huh?

My neighborhood is really getting bad lately. There are a lot more homeless folks around and a lot more sketchy characters in general. And the lovely new piece of “mural art” across the alley seems to be beckoning every gangbanger and gangbanger wannabe in a fifty mile radius to come get stoned and look at it while listening to really obnoxious music at 11PM…

I used to think nothing of walking around this area alone at 2 or 3 in the morning, but I sure as hell wouldn’t do it now. My car has been broken into more times in the past two or three years than in the first TEN years I lived here. I never used to feel nervous South of Market, but it’s pretty common for me now…

I am SO happy to be leaving this place…

Leaving San Francisco

I’m never exactly sure what I was thinking and feeling prior to the other major moves of my life, maybe because I was too busy actually moving, or preparing to move. I definitely wasn’t being a particularly active journal-keeper during those times. I’m going to try to do better this time around. Thus, here is the first in what may or may not be a relatively introspective (or maybe just rambling and pointless) series of essays on my departure from Sodom by the Bay:

In the early years of this site, I used to marvel at how almost any criticism I might make of San Francisco — no matter how constructive its intent or insignificant its content — was almost always greeted with email messages suggesting “if you hate it here so much, why don’t you leave?”

I learned quickly that the mere hint of negativity about the sacred city of St. Francis would be drowned by a chorus of residents (many of whom had logged even fewer years here than I had) who believed that anything short of undying allegiance rendered one somehow unworthy of living in such a wonderful city as San Francisco. If I saw something wrong, the chorus insisted, it was largely due to my own perspective and was probably due to the fact that I was too fucking stupid to realize what an absolutely perfect paradise I’d been granted the privilege of living in.

In short, If I had any problems with any aspect of the city, I didn’t deserve to live here. San Francisco: love it or leave it.

Mind you, I was aware of all this even while I still liked living here. For several years, I was rather amused by this place which took itself so very seriously. I found it a rather quaint little joke, and it made for some interesting essay topics on this website.

But after thirteen years, I’ve decided to listen to the chorus. I’ve reached the point where the negatives outweigh the positives. In less than a month, I’ll be saying good-bye to this place which has been home for nearly a third of my life — and for more than half of my adult life.

I’m excited and happy. I’ll be living with the love of my life in a city I’ve always thought of as my adopted home town. We’ve already found a great apartment and we plan to buy a house as soon as we’re settled. Although I’m slightly nervous about the logistics, I have absolutely no reservations about leaving this place.

At the same time, I also don’t regret the years I’ve spent here. Not one bit. In many ways, I became an individual and an adult in San Francisco, which is something I’m very proud of, particularly since this city has the exact opposite effect on so many of its transplants. I spent some very important time here, and — for the most part — I enjoyed it. Especially the early years.

In those days, it was exciting for me to be here. There were a lot of things I needed to learn about myself, and an urban environment far from home seemed the best place for me to learn them. I was an only child, and I very much feared forming too close an attachment to my parents. I believe it’s very common for only children to alternate between overdependence and severe, almost self-destructive rebellion, and I didn’t want to still be in that cycle at age 30. All in all, I think our long distance separation was good for them and for me, although it maybe lasted a bit too long.

I’ve changed a lot since 1992. Different things are important to me now. I’m not inclined to choose a job based on how it will affect my partying and social life. I don’t drink, smoke, or chase boys around sex clubs anymore. When I travel, it’s about what I can see during the day rather than how many bars I can visit each night. I’m more excited by a comfortable home than by an “interesting” neighborhood. I don’t particularly need nor want the expense, the inconvenience, nor the whole San Francisco experience anymore. If that makes me boring, so be it.

But there are definitely things I’ll miss about San Francisco and about California. It will be an adjustment driving to work every day; I haven’t commuted using a car since about two years after I moved here. Strangely, I think I’ll miss parts of California other than San Francisco (Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles) more than I’ll miss the actual city I live in. And I’ll definitely miss the informality, the lack of overt religion and the cool, foggy weather.

But none of this is really enough to keep me here any longer. I’d actually decided in early 2001 that I would be leaving San Francisco within a year, although my departure was delayed by one bad thing and one really good one. Mark has never particularly liked San Francisco, and it was assumed we’d be living here only temporarily even from the start.

And now, the time has come. I wish us well.