This past summer, after years of bullying and threats from my girlfriend, I finally decided to man up and make the move to San Francisco, or “The City” as everyone insists on calling it. Leaving the warm bosom of my little backwater hometown of Seattle was one of the most uncomfortable and difficult things I’ve ever attempted, but the anticipation and excitement of a new life in “sunny” California got me through. And you know what? I love it here! To be honest, it’s really not that different from Seattle. I’ve been able to maintain my pasty complexion, wear flannel during the summer months, and get way too drunk on cheap beer. I have, however, noticed some subtle differences between the two cities in my short time here.
There is way more poop in San Francisco. Like, way more. Human poop, dog poop, unidentified smeared poop; it’s a goddamned minefield of shit out there. This wasn’t the case in Seattle. Maybe the rain washed it all away up there? Or, you know, maybe people just know how to pick up after their dogs, and on those rare occasions, themselves.
There’s a serious lack of this in San Francisco – on Muni, in bars, on BART, and most discouragingly, in my apartment. In Seattle there was just a bit more room to breathe. You’d take in that crisp Pacific Northwest air without getting a mouthful of hair from the person standing directly in front of you.
Hey, I thought California was supposed to be sunny?!? And why the hell is everyone calling the clouds “fog”? In Seattle, that gray stuff that hangs above our heads for 10 months out of the year is called clouds. Regardless of the wording, both cities sure like to bitch about the moist overhang.
I was vaguely aware that Seattle still had professional sports teams. And from time to time, I would notice large crowds of people in green scarves marching through downtown, which apparently had something to do with soccer. In San Francisco, however, it’s pretty clear that you become a Giants fan soon after moving here. From coworkers stoically dressed in near-complete uniforms on game days to bodega cashiers clad entirely in black and orange, this is Giants town. I’ve been to two games since I’ve been here and I don’t even like baseball.
Now, people in Seattle like their pot, but they’ve got nothing on San Francisco. I’m starting to think that the fog is just a giant weed cloud hovering above the city. And smokers are decidedly brazen about lighting up in public. In contrast, Seattle stoners kept it on the sly, and never once did I see a businessman step out of his office and light up a joint for his walk home.
Holy crap, people are stoked to be living in The City. Seattleites are proud of their town too, we just didn’t have rules about what you were allowed to call it, nor did we have a clothing line to commemorate it. Does this have anything to do with the fact that no one is actually from here? Is everyone simply trying their best to assimilate? I guess I’d better get with the program.
This may be a gross overstatement, but Seattle’s current musical export is mainly comprised of tidy folkies with a mandatory mandolin player in the band. In contrast, SF is going through some kind of garage renaissance, one that’s aggressively punk with psychedelic overtones – which is awesome, even if a lot of bands are just doing their best Thee Oh Sees impressions.
You know when you’re a little kid and you visit a friend’s house for the first time and you’re overwhelmed by the strange smell of their home and you wonder in turn what your home smells like? Moving to a new city is kind of like that. My new home in the Haight kind of smells like weed and sewer.
Nothing beats a walk in The City admiring all the amazing Victorian homes with their meticulous details and garish paint jobs. In Seattle we had a rash of condos – mostly salmon colored – which are way less fun to look at when you’re high as a kite.
In Seattle, commuting by bike meant taking a straight route somewhere and dodging the occasional spandex-clad biker who was in a one-man race to get to work. In SF, riding down Market during commuting hours feels like you’re in the middle of a gang of feral children marauding the urban wasteland for food.
Seattle had just as many examples of this particular fashion subgenre. However, SF practitioners have such a fastidiously neat and precise way of pulling off this look that Northwest folks simply can’t match. This is a bit strange, since until recently Seattle contained real-life lumberjacks, only they looked a little more like shit.