Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ian

At the front of the Pacific Telephone Building
New Montgomery Street, SOMA
Wednesday afternoon

***

I moved here in 2007, after slowly being drawn to it over ten years in other parts of California and the world. I'd lived in the East Bay and worked in the city, and subletted two summers' worth of rooms. Many of my friends lived here, and I've slept on many a couch, but it wasn't until July 1, 2007 that I had a lease.

It's humbling to write about my experience here, to claim any authority as a San Franciscan. I love this place and do my best to do right by it, but there's so much I'm either yet to or will never know.

My favorite time was the summer of 2003, an era known as Camp NoJob. Some were unemployed, some worked nights, I had just come back from living abroad and didn't really have a plan. I hung out in Dolores Park and played games, temped to pay bills, and had plenty of free time to absorb this city.

To have so much flavor in such a small area is magic. There is awesomeness in probably most places, but in San Francisco everything is so accessible.

Living here compels me to be a better person, whether that means being sure to experience as much awesomeness as possible, living in harmony with both planet and people, or being creative and bold and stupendous to the fullest extent of my ability.

Sometimes you can't get out and do those things, or just don't, and that's nice too, because the last thing this city will do much of is judge you for it.

I'd hoped and wanted to live in San Francisco since I moved to California, and sometimes it just seemed like a foregone conclusion I'd be here sooner or later. Still, if a cheap room in a great house with awesome people I knew hadn't opened up, I may not have come here just yet. I had finished grad school and was looking for opportunity, whereever she may find me.

A room here was opportunity. In some ways it felt like scoring a ticket to the show or something - I was in, and that was all that mattered.

I've been a nomad of sorts since I've been in California; only once otherwise have I been in a city for this long, and that only two months more. Part of it's me settling down in general, but this place feels more like home than any of the others have by a longshot. Living here scratches the itch of wanting to live everywhere pretty well.

I've mostly known the BART corridor - working downtown, living in the Mission or Bernal Heights. I like Lower Haight a lot, and the Divisadero corridor. I think I'd like Russian Hill, with a view of the water. Much as I love the Mission, I figure sooner or later it's for the best to experience the city in some different ways.

I can understand people who don't like it, sorta. Every day I live here I find it harder to imagine living anywhere else.

I arrived in California on July 29, 1999. I had limited ideas of where I would live and no idea what I would do. I was fortunate to be with a core group of amazing people and surrounded by many more, who made my moving all the way across country under such a scenario remarkably easy. I feel humbled and privileged and indebted to be a part of San Francisco, to me the most unique and comforting and amazing city and state I've ever been in. I can only hope to give back as much as it has given me already.

4 comments:

Brittney said...

I'm glad he likes it here.

LouDuk said...

We need to exchange world travel stories! Where all have you lived??? I think it may surpise you how many different places I have lived.

Bean said...

LouDuk, I've lived in Thailand and Costa Rica.

elk said...

good story!