Goodbye, California

Saturday, October 23, 2010 15 Comments

 pic credit: Markus Wandel

The day is finally here. My car is packed, path mapped out, tank gassed up and cat properly tranquilized for the trip.

11 years ago, I arrived in San Francisco fresh off the boat from the Midwest and if you would have told me three years ago that I'd be moving east I would have slapped you first and cut you second. But the San Francisco I live in (at least until today) is not the San Francisco I fell in love with over a decade ago, it is not the place I called my only home and it is not the place that I want to say I live anymore.

The parking gestapo circle the streets like bloodthirsty sharks and it's a combination of the anti-car mentality in this town and City Hall's desire to fund their political payoffs that found me some months shelling out as much as $350 a month to the DPT for tickets. Curb protection money I call it and after 11 years of on-again-off-again car ownership in this town I am over it. Let them keep their bike lanes and filthy Muni buses, I'm done.

Bright-eyed Midwesterners wander out here (much like I did at 18) and suddenly forget where they came from (and the manners they should have been programmed with), turning into snooty, swill-sipping hipster bastards taptaptapping away on identical iPhones. Fuck that, I've been out of the bar scene for quite some time and even when I was in it I couldn't stand some of these pricks. You're from Kansas, get over yourself. You think you're better than your friends back home because you can afford $2400 a month for a closet apartment in a crackhead-infested hood? They pay $350 for a 3 bedroom on the fringes of the "hip" side of town with a coffeeshop and bookstore - who is the moron now?

I also blame Nancy Pelosi for my departure. I'm sick of being affiliated with my location simply because I choose to remain here. Being a capitalist pig libertarian in San Francisco is about as easy as being a cucumber in a women's prison (or at least what I imagine that is like) and it gets hostile when you're the only one. This didn't matter to me when I was 19 and still wet behind the ears with my blue state programming but it's gotten to the point now that I feel my reputation is somehow tainted simply because I live in Pelosi's territory, as if I must be in cahoots with them if I can tolerate being surrounded by them.

It's also the state's fault. IOUs, tax hikes, public transportation hikes, state office closures... the list goes on and on and on. Filed under: absolutely fucking sick of this shit. A driver's license costs nearly twice as much now as it did when I hopped off the boat. Sales tax is nearly 10% in San Francisco. It costs $2 to park for half an hour at a meter. Muni is $2 a ride. Rents aren't getting any more realistic. The homeless problem in San Francisco is not going away. So at what point does the Californian pack her shit and head somewhere - anywhere - but here?

Today. And on this particular day, I get to be that Californian.

I am completely open to coming back and hope, in fact, that California gets its shit together so one day I can come home again and actually feel proud to say it's mine.

I'll take some of the blame. Maybe I didn't appreciate where I got to spend the last 11 years of my life. There's a reason tourism is San Francisco's greatest strength ("great to visit, not to live") and there's something to be said for finding breathtaking views waiting for you on even the simplest errand. People pay a lot of money to hang out (and live) here and I just don't feel like I am getting the ROI I once did.

You can only go to Pier 39 or the Mission so many times.

Thanks for a great run, San Francisco.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


W.C. Varones said...

We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of uppers, downers, laughers, screamers... Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.

"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."

chairmanben said...

The Mission...

Arriving young mid westerners seem sustained by a mission.

Career, Friends, Clubbing, Sex, Band, Startup, Ski, Mating, Marriage.

Then a sense of fading mission among fellow conspirators.

The mission is renewed out of state. Often back in the home mid western state.

Headed to DC area, the capital of debt deal making. Your mission seems far more capricious and destined to meet the cretinous.

Ubu said...

Your reasons are sound, but DC is odd. I think you'll have plenty to write about.

Nothing left for me here in South Bay either. I'm gone to New Hampshire come springtime. 1 hour from Boston living in a gorgeous 3000 sq/ft 1750 farmhouse on 8 acres for under 300k. Maybe I could carve it out into 30 tiny studios and bring San Francisco with me (but it's a long bike ride to the nearest coffeehouse).

I think we're both wise to be getting out before the roof collapses--better to be somewhere else when California comes to the Feds to beg for more money. It'll be fun jeering at broke-ass California from the periphery.

Hopefully, someone will poop on your hood from time-to-time in DC to remind you of your old 'hood.

darkcloud said...

Hey JD -

Travel safe and best of luck to you on your journey.

On your way to DC, layover a night in St. Louis if you're so inclined. I'll pop for a meal, give you the tour, and such.

It'd be a hoot to meet you.

tharb said...

Sorry to hear about San Francisco. Loved to visit and wanted to move there but could not swing the nut to pay for someplace to live.

Probably late to the game here, but moved to Seattle from Tallahassee (to Tallahassee from Chicago; to Chicago from Omaha - yeah, i've been around).

not so sure the midwest is what it once was either. my own homestate of Nebraska went way republican and started bringing up nonsense like re-segragation of schools.

at the core of my being, am really thinking Canada is where me and the family will end up eventually......Vancouver????

Good Luck, my Friend! :)

Boa viagem minha amiga! I can't wait to express the same....

OldSouth said...

Godspeed and good wishes. You've also detailed for us what life could look like in the heartland unless we wake up and push back, on all fronts, not just at the ballot box. Especially the bit about the pretentious behaviors and loss of civility.

Gotta' say, tho', I could have done without that cucumber analogy...I'm older and more squeamish than I used to be I guess.

You'll land on your feet, and keep us posted on your progress.


Ubu said...

The impression I have, JDA, is not that SF has changed all that much, but that you changed--older, wiser, and more focused on what matters, less inclined to eat shit and call that progress. As a result, the premium to live in SF simply wasn't worth it.

Besides, everyone knows there is no scene; the scene moves with the directors and the writers, and nobody I've seen in the Mission with their ironic tattoos, perpetual sneer, trucker cap and butt-hugger jeans could dream of doing something as cool as create a serious (and hilarious) website dedicated to the take-down of the Fed.

Love the site, it gets better every month. I'd recommend some of my favorite haunts in DC, but most are probably long gone by now. Drive carefully, Janet is probably watching you from the control room.

Anonymous said...

Good Stuff ... I wouldn't want to put up w/ that crap either ...

profalbrecht said...

JDA, I live in the midwest, not SF or NY. When will you come to my neck of the woods?

Your ardent fan in Fargo.

Thank you, everyone, for the awesome comments. Well everyone except the asshole who tried to spam me with his stupid chart bullshit.

Ubu, you nailed it. Thank you for that insight. I do believe San Francisco has changed but you're right, it was me that changed the most. There NEVER was a scene (boy was that a shock when I got off the boat) and let's be real about it, the scene is wherever I appear at whatever moment.

Prof Albrecht, the boyfriend and I are midway through a vacation itinerary of Fed bank cities - so far we've hit Chicago, Dallas, SF, NY, DC and Richmond... so we'll eventually end up in Minneapolis, maybe you can come down and say hello when we're up there?

Chris said...

JDA, if you guys don't call me when you hit the Kansas City Fed, I'm going to be upset... Besides, I owe you a meal.

thebronze said...

I'm glad you're getting-the-Hell-out-of this God-forsaken state.

The ONLY two things this shit-hole state have going for it is 1) Geography and 2) Weather.

I hope you plan on settling in a "Free State" (such as Texas, Idaho, etc.).

Bon Voyage!