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Things That Are Important In SF Part Deux

April 6, 2009

I did this when I first moved here, and at the time I only had like 4 items, but they have all stood the test of time, which is another piece of evidence that SF and I are soulmates.  They included Trader Joes, not blocking the sidewalk, indoor plants, the difference between San Francisco and California and not complimenting people on their insanely hip outfits. Here are 8 more things that are really important to people in San Francisco.

1. parks: People in san francisco love parks.  This is because they love to be “active” and enjoy “nature.”  Obviously, they don’t enjoy nature that much or they would be living on a ranch in Montana instead of a 7×7 peninsula made out of cement.  This is another reason they enjoy parks: guilt.  Upper middle class liberal guilt drives people to get outside as much as possible, because they think it makes them more virtuous, because they are “seizing the moment.”  People in San Francisco love to seize the moment.  The most important park to people in San Francisco is not Golden Gate, but Dolores.  Golden Gate is for tourists and moms on the way to the Academy of Sciences.  Dolores park is for hip young people looking to mingle with other hip young people.  Dolores Park is also in the Mission, which is another thing that is important to people in San Francisco, because the Mission has diversity.  People in San Francisco love to eat cheap and “authentic” Mexican food in the Mission almost as much as they love to talk about it.

2. wine bars: People in San Francisco love wine bars.  Wine bars incorporate lots of things that are really important to people in San Francisco and it’s all in one easy location.  These things include wine, large wine glasses, dark wood, olives, small plates, good-looking young people, and water in decanters.  The only problem with wine bars is the incredibly extensive wine menu with many difficult to pronounce words on it.  If there’s anything that people in San Francisco hate more than L.A. I guess it might be looking like an unsophisticated moron who doesn’t know how to say beaujolais.  This causes people to have wine bar anxiety, which in turn causes some uncomfortable feelings, because they also know that they really love wine bars.  This is called cognitive dissonance.  This is also why pre-gaming in the park was invented, so that you can get sloshed before you even get to the wine bar and not even care when you start speaking Spanish. 

3. hating on Marina people: People in San Francisco love to hate on people who live/hang-out in the Marina.  Neighborhood differentiation is almost more important to people in San Francisco than it is to people in New York.  The Marina is considered to be where people from continental California i.e. L.A. congregate, and if there’s anything people in San Francisco hate more than L.A. I would almost feel bad for that thing.  People in San Francisco, especially people who live in the Mission or the Haight, love to talk shit about Marina people and can often be heard sitting in a park somewhere, drinking Red Stripe and saying things like this, “If only the people in the Marina would disappear, I think I would actually enjoy hanging out there.”  Sometimes, when people from other neighborhoods decide to venture into the Marina to try out one of their trendy new restaurants they have conversations like this, “Let’s go to dinner at SuchandSuch.” “Where’s that?”  “In the Marina (this part is said in a whisper).” “Hah.  I’ll be sure to wear my Juicy sweatsuit.”  “Yeah, and I’ll be sure to wear my striped button-up and man Sevens when I pick you up in my BMW.”  And then everyone laughs.  People in San Francisco love to make clever jokes, and then laugh about them with friends. 

4. fixed gear bicycles: People in San Francisco love fixed gear bicycles.  In case you don’t live in San Francisco, a fixed gear bicycle or “fixie” seems to be best summed up as one in which there is typically only one gear ratio, no visible breaks, and pedals  that spin whenever the bike is in motion making coasting impossible, and perfecting the art of the standing on  your pedals at stoplights very important.  People in San Francisco love doing stuff like standing nonchalantly on the pedals of their bikes while waiting at a stoplight downtown.  They feel they look cool when they do this, and the truth is they kind of do.  If you are walking within earshot near anyone who looks like they might be from San Francisco and you say the word “fixie” they will immediately turn around and want to either be your friend or strangle you, probably the latter because people from San Francisco already have friends. 

5. dogs: People in San Francisco love dogs.  Not just small dogs either, but dogs of all sizes and shapes.  This is because people in San Francisco love diversity and originality.  Some especially popular dogs in San Francisco are Bulldogs (both English and French), Great Danes (because it’s important to have a dog the size of a pony when you live in an apartment the size of my knuckle), pugs (which also happen to be the most popular dog in the U.S., and Dachsunds, which are simply adorable.  When people aren’t talking to each other about how much they want a dog, or how mean their landlord is to not let them have one they are in a park obsessing over other people’s dogs.  Dog adoration is a major way that people get dates in San Francisco.  You like the look of someone’s dog, you like the look of the dog’s owner, the dog comes and sits by you, the owner follows it over and you say, “What a cute dog!”  And all of a sudden you have a boyfriend and a pet. 

6. coffee shops that sell beer: People in San Francisco love coffee shops that sell beer.  This is partly because people in San Francisco love to drink.  They love to consider themselves to be “European” instead of “American” and therefore feel the need to drink during the day as much as possible.  People in San Francisco take day drinking to whole new levels, and they love to do this in parks (see #1).  So you say, why not just go to a bar San Franciscans?  The reason is this, for every 10 San Franciscans who love day drinking there are 10 more who are, “not drinking this week” or working a 12-step program or pregnant.  If you are meeting up with one of these temporary teetotalers for a beverage you can’t just go to a bar, because that might interfere with their goals, program, or pregnancy so you go to a coffee shop that sells beer and bam one person starts to get hopped up on caffeine while the other is mellowing out on a Blue Moon, and soon the neurons in you and your friend’s brains are firing at totally different speeds, and everyone is happy. 

7. knowing the owner: People in San Francisco love to go places where they know the owner.  They also look for places in conversations where they can say things like, “Oh yeah, I know the owner.”  When they go to places where they know the owner they feel very superior to everyone who they feel probably does not know the owner, and therefore is not as cool as they are.  They like to greet the owner with a kiss on both cheeks to demonstrate how European they are and also the fact that they know the owner well enough to kiss him/her on the face, although in San Francisco you don’t have to know people very well to be allowed and even encouraged to kiss them on both cheeks, but if you go to the wrong side first you might end up having an open mouth moment, which can be embarrassing, and people in San Francisco hate to be embarassed.  When people get to know the owner of a restaurant/wine bar/tattoo parlor they like to go there as much as possible so that they can become “regulars.”  They also like for at least part of their bill to be comped by the owner, if the owner neglects to comp at least part of the bill the people feel sad, rejected, and insecure and since these are the most hated feelings in the minds of San Franciscans they may stop frequenting this establishment, and they might even take down their 4-star Yelp! review about it.

8. tattoos: If there is anything in that people in San Francisco love more than tattoos that thing is probably a wine bar.  A lot of people in wine bars  have tattoos.  People in San Francisco are really good at incorporating lots of things that they like into one really awesome thing like a wine bar next to a park filled with good-looking young people with tattoos who hate the Marina.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Kent McMIllan permalink
    April 7, 2009 5:07 am

    Now,you’ve brushed past a subject worthy of your talents without really recognizing it. This is the entire subject of How to Describe Wine. Sure, you can always fall back on stodgy old adjectives and phrase like:

    – jammy,
    – notes of wild spice,
    – dark fruit,
    – currants and wild strawberries,
    – elegant finish,
    – vanilla oak, and (my own personal favorite)
    – a touch of garrigue.

    But those seem so devoid of greater aspirations in the descriptive department. Why settle for such things when there is yet lurking out there “a wine that makes me want to steal a Vespa” or “a wine with the lingering quality of a dream half remembered upon waking”. You will, I have no doubt, be able to easily take up the whole matter and carry it forward.

  2. Ramona permalink*
    April 7, 2009 2:11 pm

    that’s rather good.

  3. Kent McMIllan permalink
    April 8, 2009 4:23 am

    Thank you very much, but I regretted the reference to “a touch of garrigue” almost instantly after posting.

    I think it was Kermit Lynch (Berkeley or SF wineseller Kermit Lynch) who said something to the effect that he liked wines with “a sinister quality” or something of the sort. The promise of that undertone of fragrant, spicy scrub acacia in some of the reds of southern France and northern Spain is reason enough for me to buy a bottle.

  4. May 13, 2009 4:19 pm

    Nail: hit on head. We San Franciscans are such a quality bunch. I’m pretty sure I’ve been guilty of half of these before 9am this morning.

  5. kate permalink
    September 2, 2009 8:14 pm

    this is very “stuff white people like” territory. and very true, of course. i didn’t even know that i valued my relationships with “owners” and resulting discounts so much until you pointed it out, but it’s true true true. do they have wine bars in the mission? if not, that’s probably why i have never heard of such a thing. wine bar, huh.

  6. CLOS permalink
    January 19, 2010 6:37 am

    I dislike how you generalize on all things SF. I take it you did not grow up here?

  7. lizzy permalink
    April 19, 2010 4:49 pm


  8. October 31, 2010 4:06 pm

    Corning made wine glasses seem to be the best! they are tough and have great designs :

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