Tuesday, April 10, 2012
One time, when I was in Guam, I was hanging out with a bunch of other defense consultant/contractors and we were arguing over whether it was better to live in Washington, D.C. or Alabama. I would have argued DC to the death back then. One woman took my attacks quite personally and angrily slammed down her Miller Lite and stormed off telling me I had no idea what "Al. A. Bam. A." was all about. Everything about her outburst confirmed what I thought of Alabama to be true.
Mark Twain reflected on travel and came to the conclusion that it ultimately would end prejudice. As it turns out, I've learned in my travels that there are all different personality types and lifestyle preferences - some of which align perfectly to Alabama. It took me a long time to accept that as a good thing.
My thoughts on San Francisco should be couched in all of those thoughts. I admit that in the days prior to our move from North Carolina I was scared of anarchists, nudists and bed bugs. I might have a more rational reaction to those things now, but I'm still not keen on the constant protesting, the weather or the pervasive exceptionalism.
Of course, we just bought a house here and my Mother-in-Law is moving to be with us. I found myself planted with roots in a matter of weeks. Six weeks ago, I was still making the argument for DC (there's no place like home). Four weeks ago, I opened my mind to the possibility of a longer term stay. Today, I'm building a home that will serve us a growing family.
Over that time, the edges of the city softened for me. I've seen the nuances of neighborhood lifestyles in comparing our current neighborhood of SOMA to our new neighborhood of Bernal Heights. I've seen children and dogs playing in Precita Park. I've mapped out my walk down 24th Street past the taquerias to the BART station. I've found the niche of San Francisco where I seem to fit. In the rooms of my old house, I feel the history, the tradition and the future.
I have always sentimentally clung to whichever place I've inhabited at the time. I attribute the embracing spirit to a strong sense of home and an innate nesting instinct. It has served me well over the 13 moves since Mr. P and I have been together. It seemed to have take longer to stick in San Francisco, but I'm glad to find the familiar feeling again. San Francisco is my new home.