Photos from the holiday trip west are here. There are none of the assorted family gatherings because I’m increasingly squeamish about posting that sort of thing publicly.
I guess we’ll always have a complicated relationship.
After spending my first appreciable amount of time in “The City” since I escaped it in 2005, find that my feelings toward it have moderated to some extent. Part of me expected (or maybe hoped for) some grand revelation that I really missed San Francisco and wanted desperately to “come home”. That didn’t happen, and the bigger part of me didn’t really think it would. But I no longer feel the grinding hatred that drove me out way back when. In fact, I feel fairly neutral about my old hometown. It doesn’t excite me in any way. It’s just another place I used to live, and not one I’m especially eager to live in again.
And maybe that was the problem all along. San Francisco just stopped seeming “special” enough to justify the premium one pays to live there. It’s an aesthetically pleasing and generally pleasant sort of place. (Granted, the silly politics and the pretentiousness annoy me rather a lot, but so do the religious nutjobs and anti-intellectualism found in many parts of the South.) But for me, at least, there’s really nothing that sets San Francisco apart from any other major urban area in the country. In fact, I find it less appealing than many other cities. Thus, I can’t see paying such an outrageous price to be there when I could get an equivalent (or superior) urban experience in almost any other major city.
San Francisco is analogous to a “fine dining” restaurant for me. Maybe it’s my lack of sophistication or maybe I’m just a tightwad, but I’ve never yet found a $100 meal that was really ten times as good as the average ten buck meal from a really good dive. Similarly, I can’t image life in a $3000 San Francisco apartment being half again as good as it is in a $2000 apartment in another big city. Or am I just missing something?
Yes, I realize there are things that make San Francisco special for some. I was one of those people back in the day. In the 1990s, it was a great place to be a young alternaqueer who wanted to drink and get laid a lot. I was willing to make the sacrifice and pay the premium then. There are certain career paths that it’s probably somewhat easier to follow in the Bay Area. And yes, I have many incredibly happy memories of my time in San Francisco. But they’re just that: memories. The San Francisco that helped create them no longer exists and neither does the younger version of me that experienced them. And that’s not a bad thing. San Francisco is a part of my past, and now I feel like I have to look toward the future.
As for that future, I could very well see it taking a more urban form a few years down the road. I think part of my recent reluctance to do so is related to my tendency to think all urban places will be like San Francisco. Deep down, I know that they won’t, and I think that with exploration I may well find the one I like: one where I don’t have to give up quite so many other comforts of life in order to experience it. If it came down to it and money weren’t an issue, I guess I could live in San Francisco again. It’s not a choice I’d ever make on my own, and the thought doesn’t excite me any more than does the idea of living in Greensboro for the rest of my life. But what would it take? I just don’t know right now.
The trick is to stay busy and keep my mind occupied at all times. Hence today’s achievements:
- Finishing my freelance stuff for the week.
- Organizing and tagging all 800 pictures from the trip in iPhoto (I’ll get some on flickr soon).
- Four loads of laundry.
- Much grocery shopping.
- Assorted home maintenance.
- Pondering how to stay similarly busy the rest of the weekend.
I’m impressed, particularly since I’ve also been sick all day and got almost no sleep last night.
I’ll probably spend tomorrow getting everything migrated from the (out of commission) G5 to the iMac. That will be no fun whatsoever, but it’s just what I need right now.
It’s inevitable. You always end up leaving something in the hotel room. Usually it’s something of no real value, but sometimes it’s something vitally important, maybe even something you love. And all you can do is hope they keep it safe and happy until you eventually get it back.
Random intrestingness from 30,000 feet:
- Great Torontoist post on Christmas at Eaton’s.
- Richard Burr surprises everyone by supporting legislation allowing American queers to die for the rights we don’t have.
- New York Times on commercial archaeology.
- How do I always manage to make it to Southern California just in time for record rainfall?
Free wifi and a first class upgrade (thanks, m’luv) make air travel almost tolerable.
There’s a little ice storm this morning, which means, as usual, that I have to hear lots of highway workers and state troopers with heavy southern accents saying “treacherous” and”solid sheet of ice” over and over again on TV. A little variation in terminology would be nice once in a while.
I fell down the stairs.
I was going down to that basement to put some laundry into the dryer. I slipped. I slid. I landed on my back. I made horrible noises that scared Mark a lot. My teeth chattered and I started shivering. Mark mentioned internal bleeding and I remembered the blood thinners and how I’m supposed to be paranoid about impacts like these. So we went to the emergency room. It was probably an overreaction, but at least they gave me pain pills.
Funny, it all started because I was washing some dressier than usual duds for work today since one of the search committees I’m on had an on-campus interview scheduled. And as it turned out, I didn’t go to work at all, although I did show up for part of the interview–in virtual form. Serves me right for thinking about wearing a dress shirt to work, dammit.
Anyway, I’m gonna take another nap now.
Oh, and they printed my letter to the Winston-Salem Daily Pamphlet yesterday. Not my best work ever, but it suffices as my farewell to the paper.