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it’s what they call a learning curve

January 25, 2009

It’s back to just the roommates and I.  That’s the thing about San Francisco, visitors just don’t get it.  They say, “It’s so dirty.”  Yeah, it is.  But can’t they see how garbage on the sidewalk looks more poetic here.  Or they say, “I hate cities.”  Of course you do, everyone loves to hate cities, almost as much as they love to love them.  So what if the sounds of others people’s thoughts take up too much room in your brain, and you have to be on your guard all the time, because some drunk person might just fall on you or punch you in the face, but it’s great, because doesn’t that mean you’re alive.

I mean we love our apartment more than anything, we are so proud of it, like it’s our own spawn or something, and when people come over we show them around like it’s baby’s first ballet recital, and then we turn to them, our cheeks all flushed with pride, and say, “Don’t you love it?”  and they kind of smile stiffly and say things like, “Well, it’s nice for such an old building,” or “It’s pretty small, huh?”  Yeah, it is small, but you know what it’s whimsical and a little bit of a mess, just like its inhabitants.  You’d think after freaking out about how dirty the city is all day that they would be grateful to be inside such a relatively clean, relatively warm apartment. 

And then we go out to get a drink or something, and for some reason the visitors don’t want to pay $12 dollars for a drink, and they think we’re going to take them to some swanky bar where they can drink cosmos, because they’re tripping on Sex and the City, and of course no one wants to be Miranda, you know.  But we’re paying $900 dollars for rent.  We can’t afford that stuff.  Half the time we buy 40s and sit on a stranger’s stoop next to a bar so we can take the ride without having to buy the ticket, because the great thing about a bar is that it’s like a party that you don’t have to be invited to, and the great thing about a stoop is that it’s like stairs that are outside, and you don’t have to be invited to those either. 

And yeah we don’t have a huge selection of scented toilet paper, or much food to speak of, or a living room, and there are dirty band-aids in our shower, but what’s the big ish about that?  We’ve all seen a little blood before right? 

So the next time that someone thinks that they might come visit, they should consider these things carefully, because you can take the dirty band-aid out of the shower, but blood is a lot harder to clean up.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kent McMIllan permalink
    January 25, 2009 6:37 pm

    Or they say, “I hate cities.” Of course you do, everyone loves to hate cities, almost as much as they love to love them.

    So, when exactly did cities become so disliked? Since 1920, more than half of all Americans live in cities or on their immediate suburban fringes. If you’ve been to rural America lately, half a day’s drive from an actual city, and have seen more than the peeling paint, clapped-out cotton gins, and falling-down barns, then you’ll recognize that in many such places the society that exists is at the margins of the margins.

    Suburbia is fine if you don’t mind living in cars, figuratively speaking. The automobile is, after all, what made it possible for former urbanites to live on streets named after the trees that had been bulldozed to make room for houses and congratulate themselves on the new tastefulness of their surroundings.

    In the Age of Cars, cities were more or less destined to fill with immigrants or other untouchable classes of people very much unlike the brahmins who shifted to the ever more distant suburbs. But now we live in the waning years of that migration. What will suburbia look like in thirty years? Will it be messy and scary?

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