It’s a tough town to get a long with. It may be portrayed as the center of the modern world right now—the idyllic paradise where young CEOs seem to be starting startups straight out of college and dine at Michelin starred restaurants whenever they please.
You’d think I’d be inspired by these seemingly motivated “young kids,” grabbing life by the horns and becoming the future of business. Every time I hear someone say, “Yeah, I started my own app,” I feel like I’m going to vomit.
Well maybe I’d start my own app too if I had Daddy’s trust fund as a security blanket to keep me warm at night. Perhaps I’m just being bitter. But as someone who moved to what used to be one of the world’s most artistic cities, and to become inspired by its creativity, I have become disappointed by the homogenous, and recklessly materialistic wasteland it has become.
Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe it’s my fault that I chose not to get a techie job and live a Kate Spade-clad techie lifestyle. Maybe it’s my fault that I hate the Marina. Sorry Lululemon for not spending my life’s savings on your yoga pants. Sorry I don’t frequent the Ferry building farmer’s market to take IG photos, and shell out five bucks for a tiny(although very sweet) peach. What if I don’t want to make a reservation two months in advance just to eat at a decent restaurant?!
“Oh, but don’t you love the great food?” Yes, if I didn’t feel like I was bleeding hoards of money every time I ate out, then yes I’d love it here! I’d never leave this idyllic foodie paradise! (That four-dollar toast is legit doe.)
Yes, it’s my fault that I came to San Francisco to actually find myself and live out my dreams. How foolish of me.
Over the course of 2 ½ years, I’ve held six different jobs. From natural foods distribution, to real estate, and from several semi-techie jobs to even being a pastry cook—it’s just never panned out for me here. With each job, I left on my own—I wasn’t being challenged enough.
A good friend once told me that it wasn’t all for nothing. I’m simply checking things off my list one by one. This made me think because although I wish I could hold down a job for more than 6 months, I am slowly becoming aware of myself.
In the two years I’ve lived in SF, I’ve started my blog, I’ve changed the way I look at food, I went to Europe for 2 months and had the trip of a lifetime, I made a few lifelong friends, and I even fell in love. These things would have never happened had it not been for this bitter metropolis. So I want to thank you San Francisco, for enriching my life, but at the same time I want to grab you by the shoulders and scream, “WAKE UP!”
The tech industry can’t rule you forever. You may have all the best engineers in the world inhabiting your million-dollar high-rises, but it is your most valuable assets, the artists who have shaped the San Francisco identity, that are being driven out. Google buses are infiltrating even the most innocent of neighborhoods. Hearing the screeching brakes of a giant rumbling Gbus as its barely squeezing through the narrow streets of Noe Valley is like hearing your Uncle talk about how he recently passed a kidney stone—It’s. Just. Painful.
And then there’s the Tenderloin. Although there are talks of gentrification, and like OMG a hip ramen shop from Tokyo has just popped up on O’Farrell!!! It’s actually getting quite worse.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve woken up to the sounds of gunshots echoing in the middle of the night, let alone the number of needles that crunch underneath my feet every time I step out of my apartment building. And the feces (it’s not just dog, trust me)…I’ll just stop there. Thirteen year-old boys “man” every corner, dealing small packets of the white stuff. And every time a cop car comes into view, they disperse in all directions, running for their lives with their brand new shiny Jordans glimmering in the sunlight. Oh, and did I mention that the Twitter HQ is just a few blocks away? Let me tweet that.
There’s poverty everywhere you look, the homeless are spilling onto the sidewalks because the shelters are over-capacity. Due to rising costs, people from all over the Bay Area have ended up here because they can’t afford a home anymore. I lived above a playground and it’s the most depressing view anyone could ever ask for. Because they can’t go to school, homeless children spend most of their waking hours in this color blocked jail while mommy rolls a blunt. This is because in order to get a bed to sleep in at a shelter, the entire family must be present at the time of checking-in before the shelter hits capacity, which happens way before school lets out. A place to sleep at night is more worth it than a day at school.
Alright alright, I’m not a social activist, nor am I a techie hater. I’m just telling my side of the story and offering an honest portrayal of my experience here in this seemingly idyllic land where people think that bearded hipsters frolic around with single-origin cold brews in hand. Yes I lived in the “world’s greatest city” for the past 2 years, and I am sure ready to leave it. For those of you who know me, this rant may make me sound like a living contradiction. I admit, I WAS the girl who knew about all the trendiest spots to eat, and I do love Uber, it’s just so damn convenient! But that’s why my experience here has been so bittersweet. It’s just not working.
Maybe we can call this changing landscape, an evolution. But this is all happening way too fast. Evolution is an occurrence that takes place over several generations, tweaking things here and there, not pushing too much but just enough to achieve the most efficient and sustainable result. This relatively recent surge in “growth” can’t be sustained, you can feel the friction that pulses throughout the city as you walk from the post card perfection of Union Square and suddenly find yourself in the middle of the ghetto because you missed a turn. Yes, that is a man in the corner smoking…and yes that is what a crack pipe looks like.
San Francisco has taught me a lot, but I’m saying goodbye and looking forward to what life throws at me next.