Tuesday, April 10, 2012

San Francisco - My City

In each new place I've lived, I've been ever more cognizant of the fact that for some people, this will be the place that always live.  For people who always live in one place, it can be hard to hear an outsider's perspective and especially a critique.  For me, a chronic mover, it can be hard to internalize the sensitivities to one's place of abode.

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.


  1. oh whoa, welcome to the hood! :) there's also holly park and bernal heights park, both great for dogs!

  2. Thanks @suki! Hopefully I'll get my buns in shape hiking up Bernal! :)

  3. Oh, San Francisco will definitely kick your butt (in a good way!). After years of complaining about trudging up and down hills, it might be the thing I MOST miss about living in the City instead of the burbs. Sure, it's nice having a car to take me places in the East Bay, but the City hills are the BEST workouts. Congrats on the house! You, me and Clairnation will have to meet up sometime!

  4. I absolutely agree with Mark Twain about traveling. And I'm learning exactly what you're learning about different people suited to different lifestyles. It's very hard for me to accept sometimes because gosh darnit, I've lived this life and I've moved to new and different places, and I've challenged myself and it's made me a better person, so what if everyone else did it too?? I make a lot of assumptions about people based off of their willingness to be adventurous, and even when I'm right in my assumptions, I have to accept that it's OKAY for other people to live exactly how they want to live without me pushing them out of their comfort zone, which is very tempting for me. I'm a work in progress, I'll tell you that for sure. :)

  5. I am just catching up on a week of blogs and read this. It's so good to hear, and so wonderfully put. I'm glad you've found home :-)

  6. Being from New Jersey, I had to develop pride for my home state to combat all the negativity! I'll never understand why people think that insulting where I come from is an appropriate conversational topic. It's rude!