11 Jun First impressions are the most important
The first impressions rule is true about people and also about cities; it’s what you see and feel first that colours the rest of your relationship. First thoughts about San Francisco? Good, very good. OK, amazing. World class without a doubt, chock-full of creative people, beautiful things, and amazing food.
Everything looks so good here – it’s all reclaimed wood interiors, relentless attention to detail, and DIY light fixtures made by a talented designer who actually works as a programmer for a very cool start-up by day and just makes lights (oh, those old things?) in her spare time. To unwind, you know. A creative outlet for her creative outlet.
San Francisco has so much beauty and talent that she’s a little intimidating, like a model turned heart surgeon, who’s actually pretty nice too. But of course, as with any city, she’s got her quirks. So in the vein of first impressions, here are some of the things I get about San Francisco, and some of the things I’m still figuring out:
The weather: Sure it’s hot and summery in the rest of California, but here it’s sunny and cool if it’s windy. And it’s almost always windy. Or foggy. The optimum dress code: a lightweight North Face jacket and sandals. With six layers underneath so you can peel them off as you work up a sweat walking up that huge hill.
The hills: There are a lot of them, and my glutes are reaping the rewards. Spectacular inclines can be found on Divisadero and Castro, and yeah, that zigzag one that everyone takes photos of (See Exhibit C).
The food: It’s local, organic, and unbelievably tasty. Farm to table at its finest. The sheer number of great places to eat means that this is a competitive market, which in turn means that restaurants actually want you to come back. This makes for good service, reasonable prices, and delicious food. Win-win-win, I say.
The shopping: Like the food scene, the emphasis here is on local. There aren’t many big box stores in San Francisco so great little boutiques abound. (Although, it does seem that people here either have a lot of disposable income to buy beautiful baubles, or they live in a park in the Tenderloin. It’s a bit of a strange juxtaposition.)
Things that are still beyond my ken:
Four-way stops: All of the intersections in my neighbourhood are four-way stops. But who goes first, car or pedestrian? First no one goes, then we all move forward at once. And then we all stop, and then…
Cost of living: Between the delicious food, the amazing shopping, and the astronomical rents, how does anyone actually survive here without accumulating a staggering amount of personal debt?
Magic dogs: There are so many dogs in this city, and most trot around happily unleashed, or play in unfenced parks bordered on all sides by busy streets. Do these owners have a magical spell that makes their dog less crazy and more car-savvy than mine?
Potential friends: Everyone here is uber talented and super cool. In fact, nine folks out of ten would probably be great for a chat over a delicious (local) craft beer. But how do you actually meet people and make friends in this city?
To be continued…