San Francisco and I are celebrating our anniversary! We've been together for ten years and are still going strong.
On November 30, 1996, my sister Fabulous Patti and I drove up to the City after spending Thanksgiving with Diva Mommy in Pasadena, and my new life began. I had been living in New England since graduating from Brown in 1992, and, by and large, I hated it there. Fabulous Patti, who had graduated from Berkeley in 1981 and lived in the East Bay for several years before heading to medical school and then to get a masters in public health, had moved back to the Bay Area that July and offered to let me live with her in the City rent-free while I got settled.
How cool is that??!!!
Actually it's even cooler than you think because Fabulous Patti ended up letting me live with her without paying a dime of rent for a year and a half. That's one super sibling.
Anyway, I remember how much promise the City by the Bay held for me. Even though I had only visited three times before, and the first two times had been before I was seven years old, I knew I would fit right in. I would have a tremendous career married to a delicately Bohemian lifestyle. I would meet the man of my dreams. I would be an active member of the West Coast intelligentsia.
Well, the man of my dreams hasn't exactly materialized, even though I have dated some characters. Most of the dreams my paramours have ended up in have seemed more like nightmares, but for the most part, the gentlemen have been lovely fellows. Sort of, anyway.
I'm not really the Bohemian type either. I had seen Rent on Broadway about five months before I moved here, and I was on a struggling artist kick. I did spend several years as an actor, though, and did a lot of crappy plays in small theatre spaces in the Tenderloin, North Beach and the Mission. That kind of counts as Bohemian, right? And now I'm in my fake band, and it really doesn't get much more struggling than us.
My career, however, has gone swimmingly. If I were a more aggressive person I probably could have taken it to even greater heights by now, but in a lot of ways, my work life has surpassed all my expectations. Even when I was unemployed in 2004, I did some cool things, like work in the District Attorney's Office. Not bad, considering I'm not a lawyer. I actually began working for my current bosses a mere two weeks after my arrival, but at that time I held a different position than I do now. I subsequently worked for four other employers and had that little unemployment thing before coming back to the people who first welcomed me professionally. I guess things really do come full circle.
But probably the best part of my life in San Francisco has been the friends I've made. Yes, the live music is great, the theatre is awesome and the bars and restaurants have amazing treats to offer, but I have met some tremendous people. I even met some of them on the first full day I lived here, and we are still friends.
Now, no relationship is perfect, and San Francisco and I have had some rocky times. I've been robbed several times, and some creepy guy with a decidedly menacing attitude followed me through Golden Gate Park one afternoon in 1999. Plus, the cost of living here can occasionally cause tension. But we've been good at working through our problems.
Overall, I really don't think it gets much better than this (well, maybe if I lived in Hawaii, but that's another story). No offense, New England, but after ten years, I can definitively say that San Francisco kicks your ass. Okay, I've been saying that since my first week here, but now I have a decade of evidence to back me up.