Last night on a bike ride with my oldest teenage daughter, we talked about living in different cities and what life must be like. When her mom and I first met way before she was born, we were living in the San Francisco Bay Area. All told, I lived for eight years between San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. San Francisco became my City.
“I was glad that I lived in the Bay Area back then,” I told my daughter on our bike ride on a dark beach path in Long Beach last night, “and I’m glad I’m not living there anymore.”
So many reasons: The high, high, high housing prices. The bad traffic, as bad or worse than L.A. The workaholic corporate types who just can’t wait to get back into their cubicles. Maybe it was things like the recent news story about a guy who lived in a trailer park and drove a Tesla.
We are somehow shocked at seeing a Tesla parked outside someone’s Bay Area trailer, with all of our judgments about class, education and entitlement laid bare. Another well-paid tech worker just can’t find a place to live for less than several million dollars. For years I would say, “the Bay Area people don’t deserve the Bay Area with all its beauty. They’re too busy in their cubicles and their corporate drive.”
Still, it was hard for me to leave the Bay Area. Emotionally hard, like a break-up that no one wanted but had to happen. It took me about five months to actually make the full transition to L.A.
And now? So many years later, in an entirely new life, I am much better here. Oh sure, I’ll go back and visit San Francisco, maybe Berkeley, possibly Marin. And then I’ll go home. San Francisco will always be my City, but where I am now, where my family, is truly my home. And no amount of great views, bridges, good food, fine wine and progressive intellectual thinking can match that.
Meanwhile, my old apartment at 777 Bay St. in San Francisco? The rent there tripled in the instant that we moved out, and it was re-rented in less than a day. I’m sure it’ll be fine. The residents there, I can only hope that they once in a while poke their heads above their corporate cubicles and look around.