16 Pointers on Visiting or Living in San Francisco

  1. Just go ahead and buy the Doctor Scholl’s gel inserts when you buy new shoes. Expect to replace those insoles often if you do any walking at all.
  2. Join a gym – you’ll need to lift weights to relax after your exertion getting from point A to point B.
  3. Carry cash. This may be Silicon Valley but a lot of the small business owners here don’t give a damn – many won’t even use Square. ATMs are every few feet, most easily spotted in bars, convenience stores, and coffee shops. The ATMS are not, however, well-maintained – part of the underlying technological resistance that is part of old-school San Francisco. If you can, sign up for a membership at one of the credit unions that forgives all out of network ATM fees. Otherwise paying those fees is well-nigh unavoidable.
  4. DON’T use Air B&B when you visit. It may look cheap and easy, but you are screwing someone out of a place to live and quite possibly contributing to your host’s inevitable eviction. Seriously, there are entire buildings of people that have been thrown out of their homes so the landlords can run de facto hotels.
  5. The tourist attractions have all the mediocre food. Go where locals live and work (everywhere else) and you’ll be hard pressed to find something that isn’t awesome. There is a health rating system that is especially helpful – a green card placed prominently shows the restaurants health rating. Anything above a 90 is generally OK, and just about  any hole in the wall has amazing food. Also, refer to #3.
  6. Fuck Yelp. No, really, when it’s as popular as it is in San Francisco, it’s actually useless because it’s the cacophony of the lowest common denominator. One chiropractor I visited due to the high praise on yelp a)had Scientology stuff on the walls b)had anti-vaccination pamphlets in the lobby c)had some really transphobic doctors in the practice and d)never actually treated me for what I came in for. This has not been my only Yelp-fueled error. At this point Trip Advisor is actually more useful for local life information. There is one exception; finding places that deliver. Then Yelp is awesome.
  7. There’s a Reddit for everything.
  8. Craig’s List was born here – and it’s used for just about everything if you’re over 35. The younger set, however, seems a trifle less engaged.
  9. When someone asks you how you find the city, all they really want to hear is how much you love it. If, like me, you find it troubling, just keep it to yourself and pick one or two more-or-less positive things, like the fantastic quality of the cheap food or the ridiculously affordable massages and manicures. Any response that suggests you are anything but madly, uncritically in love with this place is taken as a person affront or a reason to feign concern for your mental health.
  10. The cheap manicures and massages are all located in Outer Richmond
  11. There is always parking in the Presidio.
  12. Unless you’re under 35 or over 60, you’re going to have one hell of a time meeting people for stuff besides sex. Age segregation to unnecessary extremes is the cultural norm here. Most of it is because apparently sex is the most important of all social activities in San Francisco. This is closely followed by politics, most of which involves people under 35 an people over 60 screaming at each other and blaming one another for the appalling state of housing and the cost of living in San Francisco. Somehow the landlowners and exploitative landlords, who foment and encourage this divisive hatred, only remain a focus for nanoseconds. No one has commented that this is fishy.
  13. For some reason, it’s acceptable to advertise events in private homes on Meetup.com. Apparently stranger danger is not a concept out here, because from the looks of it many people actually do go to these. San Francisco Parks and Rec does seem to offer plenty of affordable spaces, as do various dance studios, etc. but no one seems to be interested.
  14. There’s going to be a huge wave of anti-technology activism from the children born after 2002 and it will start in the Bay. Why? Because their parents don’t ever look up from their SmartPhones and it’s the ultimate in absentee parent. Around 2018 start short-stocking Silicon Valley.
  15. Cheap haircuts are a little harder to come by. There’s two on Geary that are under $20. Otherwise you need to go to Cinta Aveda or the SOMA beauty school – and it could still cost you.
  16. This is an allergy sufferer’s hell. MORE POLLEN YEAR ROUND.

This is what i have gathered in roughly a year of observation. Perhaps next year I will have a more nuanced view.