Love Letter to San Francisco

December 24, 2017

Dear San Francisco,

You have a funny shape, with two bridges sticking out. You are small in stature and dense in population. Home to hipsters, researchers, and financiers. Not everyone is well off: there’s a woman at Bloomingdales who coughs and a sneezes. She works to pay the bills. Her sneezing up a storm is frightening the customers.

Your churches are empty, tech conferences full. Tech meetups are merry with free pizza and beer. The homeless people stumble outside. Many of the techies are newly relocated, while the homeless are local. The privileged don’t pay for food. The new displace the old.

People appreciate culture: on sunny weekends, crowds gather at outdoor comedy sketches. They frequent art museums. The science museums are crowded.

You like local art, and local artists showcase multiple times per year. Yet the artists have a day job in the main three industries: tech, finannce, and healthcare. Even with all the paintings and sculptures, it is difficult to make a living with art.

United states, translated from Chinese, means ‘beautiful country’. It is a teenager brimming with expendable cash and optimism. The Teslas on the road confirm this. Driving is rushed since people are paid at the top dollar. Pedestrians are swiped as drivers turn without shoulder checks.

San francisco is a baby in a grown man’s clothing; there’s so much growth in tech, it is bursting at the seams. Yet other industries aren’t growing.

There’s still a whiff of hippy vibe on the Ashbury street, long after the yuppies edged out the hippies for housing. The real estate is priciest in the country. Old houses are packed like canned sardines. Paint flicks off the walls, yet these properties still sell for millions.

There is contrast in the city: the glamorous vs. the sketchy, the glass skyscrapers vs. victorian houses. The common hipster in tight jeans, and the eccentric in leather and corsets. Big companies like Yahoo stand beside a startup.

Love the music at the bars/saloons. Especially in the north beach. The aged musicians play for young tech workers. The music is warm and reaches the soul, further than alcohol can.

You are not as you seem. Thanks to big marketing and word of mouth, you are perceived extremely well. Under the veneer of tech prowess, you remain a humble, diverse city in the bay, and a great example of the American melting pot.

While in San Francisco I was living the dream. Back at the parent’s home in Vancouver, I think about you every day.

I am smitten.