When I moved to San Francisco in August 2011, it was a bit unexpected – even by me. I’d left Israel earlier that year without much of a direction or an idea about what to do next, and a few months later I’d begun looking for jobs. After very nearly accepting an offer for a position in New York, I got a phenomenal opportunity with CNET’s audience development team (CNET is owned by CBS, and part of CBS Interactive) to be its SEO Product Manager, and I borrowed a ton of money to move there very quickly.
I’d never really been west of the Mississippi River before. I had no idea what San Francisco or California would be like. It was kind of an adventure. Now, after two years working at CBSi/CNET and living in San Francisco, I’ve left both to return to New York.
San Francisco doesn’t need me to list all the great things about it, but I’ll point out a few of them anyway.
The thing I love the most about San Francisco is the climate. People seem to complain about the weather in San Francisco all the time, but it’s about as close to the ideal as I can imagine, with the only exception being that it never snows. I love the cool summers. I love the foggy, gloomy despair. I love the microclimates and knowing that there could be four or five real changes in weather in the next ten blocks. One of my goals in life is to be able to spend every June, July and August in this 49 mile paradise.
I also enjoy San Francisco’s business, food and park cultures. The high concentration of technology companies in San Francisco alone means that I’ll certainly be back many times, and may live there again.
In two years of San Francisco, the number of hooded sweatshirts in my wardrobe grew by three hundred percent, from one to four. And four hooded sweatshirts may actually not be enough for living in San Francisco full time.
San Francisco also taught me about about many new things and peculiar west coast euphemisms:
- foody: a person who likes food, whether cooking it or eating for it, and wants other people to know how much he likes it
- EDM: techno music
- Black Rock City: Burning Man
- succulent: a small plant
- Walnut Creek: very distant suburb where a surprising number of the Bay area’s attractive girls reside
- hella: west coast version of wicked
- geeking out on something: enjoying something
The bad part of San Francisco is that it has a serious problem with crime, poverty and vagrancy that people don’t like to acknowledge. These social ills are way out of control, in a way that would take a Giuliani to correct (that would be in our modern context, though I’d prefer something a bit more severe; neither, of course, is on anyone’s agenda). So the pleasant neighborhoods continue to be interspersed inconveniently with the ugly and gritty neighborhoods, the housing projects and the feces-laden slums, as if by design.
Where people do acknowledge this issue, they don’t particularly seem to consider it a problem.
Suggesting that places like Oakland and the Tenderloin could stand to be cleaned up and made more pleasant and civil for taxpayers to enjoy is a gruesome faux pas in San Francisco. When I mentioned things like this in the past on the facebook, I lost friends for it every single time (I use the Social Fixer extension, so I’m able to keep track of who unfriends me). I was also rejected by a girl I wanted to date because I failed to acknowledge that the Mission is San Francisco’s superior neighborhood. San Franciscans are the most intolerant group of people I’ve ever met.
Also, the hills are pretty but it’s really annoying to walk up and down them all the time. I thought I’d get used to the hiking, but I didn’t. I took scooter lessons last year and got a motorcycle permit, so if I’d stayed, I would have bought a Vespa to be able to get around more easily.
San Francisco, you are wonderful and I hope you’ll take my constructive criticism, but I don’t think you will. But I’ll see you some time in the future.