A book written in in 1850s by a rather untraveled Englishwoman calls San Francisco one of the “wickedest” cities in the world.
The most wicked aspect of the city is its lack of parking, and mayhaps the way some people dress, or at times, don’t dress at all.
The day is warm and I’m wandering among the oddities of San Francisco’s eclectic Mission district. For every mainstream man on the sidewalk there are 34.7 hipsters and other bedraggled residents who, I assume, are low income. San Francisco has a way of visually separating the social classes.
Mission Dolores Park is one of many grassy patches where locals gather to do what I’m told all San Franciscans do: sit around on the grass on sunny days and drink wine. I’ve met up with a friend; we sit, we watch the crowd. She’s an alternative sort – the good kind – and less put off by these types than I am. I am Republican. I own two North Face jackets, both in neutral colors. I drive a Mercedes and enjoy Starbucks. I’ll consider this a study in diversity but, ultimately, I don’t belong here.
Later in the day I circle San Francisco’s posh Marina District for a half hour, waiting for parking to open up. Young, semi-wealthy couples who own North Face Jackets and perhaps drive Mercedes cars and enjoy Starbucks live here. And it’s here that another of my northerly friends shares a 1 bedroom apartment, her roommate having made a second bedroom out of the living room. This, I believe, is common in San Francisco. Together we go for empanadas at Mamacita, then large glasses of red wine at Bin 38. A twentysomething next to us snorts coke on Bin 38’s back patio when the staff isn’t looking.
I think, by my best guess, I’ve just had a typical day in San Francisco: parks, walking around, searching for parking, and dinner and drinks at locally-owned restaurants. This would be my life if I lived here. I almost moved here, but the dirty looking people drove me back to Southern California.
Next up: An exploration of San Francisco’s Sutro Bath Ruins and Land’s End Trail, my favorite part of the city.