I would like to dedicate this post to all of the wonderful and interesting people I have met during my years of living in the beautiful Bay Area ❤
My husband and I are coming up on the second anniversary of piling the poor Subaru up with our belongings and setting out to California to live in a startup mansion in the heart of San Francisco. It might sound a little strange to anybody living anywhere else but around here, it’s kind of the norm. Those friends who know me know that I have had quite a turbulent love/hate relationship with the city. However, I wouldn’t take my experiences back for anything. There is something about this place that rubs you raw. You are forced out of your shell and into to a scary unknown like a pistachio into an open mouth. Hahaha, sorry, that last one just cracked me up! Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say is that anybody can survive here. They just need a little warning and a proper set of tools 😉 I proudly and happily present my checklist for living in the Innovation Capital of the World. Please enjoy!
Kat’s San Francisco Survival Checklist
DONT. BRING. A. CAR
Holy crap. If only I had known what was awaiting me when I rolled onto the congested streets of the 101. Pain. So much pain. Between the traffic, the illusive parking spot and $100 street-sweeping tickets, you are better off shaving your head, smoking a joint and joining the drifters down at Golden Gate Park. Public transit is actually pretty decent here! Just bring some Mentholatum to rub under your nose because, chances are, you will be sandwiched up against a drifter who opts for a light skip through the sprinkler in lieu of an actual shower. Oh, and for those days when you just can’t handle yelling guy on the subway, learn to use Uber (but be careful, it is seriously addictive)
Know that to be successful you don’t have to start your own company.
Phew. It feels good to get that off my chest. Living in a startup mansion means that you are surrounded by the most attractive, inspiring and successful entrepreneurs in, well, the world. I have actually said to people, “Oh, I’m just a writer. I am keeping this blog until I figure out what my real venture will be.” Sure I’m not the most successful writer ever but I didn’t even give myself any credit! San Francisco can do this to you. There are, obviously, better ways to handle it, but it happens. It has taken me 2 years (and I’m not even all the way there yet) to define to myself what success means to me. I even toyed with the idea of starting a company! I had an LLC and no desire, whatsoever, to build something and hire a team and buy paperclips. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons.
Develop the will to say ‘No’ to crop tops and, the male version, vest without a shirt trend.
I am guesstimating here but I am pretty sure that 99% of people should not go shirtless in public. San Francisco is deceiving because most of the 1% that should live here. This makes the rest of us feel un-hip or too conservative if we don’t bare it all for the world to see. CORRECTION! Here is a little quiz to determine whether or not you are in the 1%:
1. Do you have ‘abs’ (see photos here)
Not Sure (see ‘No’)
2. Do you have a lot of hair on your chest or stomach (by a lot I mean, well, any)?
3. Are you a model?
4. Are you Costa Rican, Venzualan, Brazillian, Indonesian, or any other nationality aside from scary white/transparent?
Are you under the age of 28?
Thank you for taking this quiz! If you answered ‘No’ to ANY of the questions, chances are you should most certainly NOT be bearing yourself to the general public. I am not saying you are not beautiful, I’m just saying…. Don’t.
It’s ok to say ‘No’ to Burning Man
I am on this boat. I have tried to explore it from other angles, trick myself into thinking I’m a Burner, surround myself with other Burners in hopes that I would be burned (?). I just can’t do it. There are few things in the world that sound worse to me that donning a tutu in the middle of the desert and lighting shit on fire. I admire those who partake but it is a kind of selfish desire. I just like it when the city clears out and I can get some peace and quiet. I know. I am so ridiculously old. The point is… it’s ok to not want to go. After all, you do live in the best city in the world already!
Lastly, know when it’s time to say ‘when’.
My husband and I have been grappling with the idea of moving out of the city for a while now. We are paying a criminally high rate in rent and, personally, I am tired of walking out of my building and seeing an old naked man or someone getting arrested. This is not to say that you have to leave for good, I am just saying that it’s ok to distance yourself from the madness. We are happily moving a few minutes out of the city and nothing has ever felt more natural. We have had our finger on the pulse for quite some time and it’s time to feel our own. You don’t have to live in the heart of everything to get the benefits and intoxication and possibilities of the city. It’s ok to want to look out your window and see trees.
That’s it! That’s my checklist for now. I am grateful to this city because it pushed me and encouraged me to start Bad at Art. This blog is my heart and, I guess you could say that, I found my heart in San Francisco. Thank you so much for reading. I hope to hear your thoughts ❤