Tuesday, April 7, 2009

City of Love

I officially changed by blog description to "On quitting my day job to write for a year, and then going back to my day job while still trying to write." I can't deny it any longer: I'm back to working full time, and I can only find a few hours to write each week. When I do find some time, I need about half of it just to decompress to the point where I can focus enough to write anything worthwhile. That's what I miss most, I think -- the quiet time just before the good writing comes. When I used to have the time to leisurely walk Chester to the park, instead of the way it is now, where I follow nervously behind him, focusing on his butt and willing something to come out of it, so I can go back inside and quickly get ready for work. 

When I'm in a hurry, I don't notice the little things. And noticing the little things is critical to writing. Lately, the things I do notice seem mainly to annoy me. Consequently, I started a list today of things that annoy me about San Francisco. I'm sure it will grow over time, but here's what I have so far:

  • People who wear bike jerseys into breakfast cafes. It's bad enough that I'm hungover and you're not, but do you have to rub it in by wearing a bright yellow jersey?

  • People who move their cars only once per week -- during street cleaning. Then they are somehow able to move their cars back into exactly the same spot. This is usually confounded by the person having a really conspicuous, annoying car so you KNOW it's the same one.

  • People who cross in the middle of the street and then look annoyed because YOU didn't slow down. In some countries, buddy, drivers speed up when they see someone in the street.

  • People who run through Golden Gate Park with water bottles in their hands. Come on, it's 53 degrees outside and you're only running for 20 minutes. You can make it. 

  • People who have those built in poop-bag dispensers on their dogs' leashes. I mean, who's that put together?

  • People who give you an evil stare because you stopped your car in the middle of a crosswalk. Hey, I know where my tires are -- at least I stopped. When this happens to me I usually pretend like I'm talking on my phone -- but now I get a double-stare for talking on my phone while stopped in a crosswalk.

  • Cab drivers who turn on their "for hire" light when they're clearly not for hire. Did all the drivers get together one day and decide this would be funny?

  • When a bus doesn't come for 45 minutes and then three pull up in a row.

  • When you miss a turn and can't turn left again until you hit the ocean.

  • Emeryville. I know, it's not technically in the city of SF, but seriously -- are ALL those people going to Ikea? 

What annoys you about SF?


  1. Specifically San Francisco? The not being able to turn left until you hit the ocean is a good one. The "For Hire" light joke is universal, and I think it gets more and more amusing for cab drivers as it gets colder and later. I don't live in San Francisco, so not a lot of things annoy me about the city, besides when people from the city move to San Diego and talk about how much better San Francisco is than SD, despite moving. Then again, I am white. Good list! I laughed out loud at the observation about running with a water bottle.

  2. The homeless people who feel entitled to walk in the street and block traffic whenever and wherever they feel.

    The parking cop who gives you a ticket anyway after begging for lenience.

    The fact that we can never have more than three nice days in the row before the bitter and angry winds blow fierce off the pacific and fog envelops every corner of life.

    Knowing that whenever you want to go to the Trader Joes on Masonic that you will have to wait in the line of cars a half mile long just to park.

    Getting on a crowded bus, morning commute, in the front, squished repeatedly until the driver won't accept any more passengers, standing on one leg and leaning at a 45 degree angle and seeing that the back of the bus is nearly empty but no one will move towards the back.

  3. When critical mass riders block all traffic for hours, including buses where people are making an effort not to drive. Go pedal yourselves right on outta here.

  4. Oh man, I feel like I have to represent The Pedestrian here.

    How about people who are violent if you ride your bike on the sidewalk to actually get to your apartment (on crazy Pine st. or other busy streets where drivers are murderers and there is no bike lane)? It's like, sorry, man, I didn't feel like dying today and have to get home somehow.

    Note: I could be the one glaring at you for coming close to running me over in the crosswalk. And you're right, double glare for the cell phone. What is a pedestrian to do if they can't walk on green? I almost saw a small child get run over. Someone's dog was run over!

    When I go to get coffee on my way to somewhere and there is someone who clearly needs more socialization and spends what seems like forever looking at pastries and deciding on their drink of choice. "I've been thinking about a paaaastry. What is good?"

    When people leave doors open at restaurants. This city is cold!

    When men make smoochy noises at me on the street while looking me straight in the eyes. Does that ever work? It makes me feel like a puppy.

    When people bark at my dog.

    Slow walkers. Moving roadblocks.

    Any kind of personal hygiene type behavior on BART or the bus (picking nose, clipping nails, shaving with an electric shaver and tapping out the contents - I have seen all of them).

    When people glare at me for smiling at their baby/toddler.

    I should probably stop. I'm getting all worked up!

  5. I have another one…
    Why, in the city of conservation, do I get 12 phone books delivered to my door every three months? Does anyone even still use phone books?

  6. I didn't live in SF during my 4 years in the Bay Area - I could probably write an entire blog about what was wrong with Berkeley, though.

    One thing: why is it that when someone in SF or the Bay Area in general finds out you moved from So Cal (or you're a So Cal native) the very next thing out of their mouths is one of the following:

    "don't you like it SO much better up here?" or "which do you like better, the Bay Area or So Cal?

    Is there some sort of unofficial tally? Are these people keeping score of which one is better? And why does it matter which one I like better? I guarantee you no one in LA gives a crap whether or not you like SF better.

    I also think the love affair with Gavin Newsom is a little weird. But otherwise, I must say I love SF...but equal to my love for So Cal, lest I get caught up in that unofficial tally...

  7. I find the general attitude of SF can be annoying. At least LA knows its platic and superficial and at least they have a good time with it, but never ever tell SF they are like that because they are above that.

    I have to say that whole 3 buses in a row thing bugs the crap out of me especially when there were 10 One Californias that went by.