I read Carl Nolte’s article on sfgate.com about people who have left San Francisco because of fog, high crime, fog, change and fog. These people obviously don’t get San Francisco. Did they fly in from Corpus Christi on one of our few sunny days and then moved in to experience the fog and thought they were a part of a bait and switch?
I don’t think so. My mother was lucky enough to start to go blind and then die before she really got to see the changes in San Francisco. I took her down by AT&T park a few years ago and she couldn’t believe that people wanted to live there. I agreed, but for a different reason, the price of housing down there. Change happens. I was looking at pictures today of the Sunset District in the 40’s and what I saw were mounds of sand everywhere. Today, you don’t see that. That last bit of inland sand dunes were changed into a soccer field years ago.
What doesn’t change is the fog. Once touted to have medical benefits by doctors they may be right. My father smoked a pack of non-filtered cigarettes a day and drank a 12 pack of beer and lived to be 83 — longer than the current expected life span of a man. Some parts of SF have less fog than others, but they usually have overcast weather at least. I was sitting on the deck of my employer yesterday in Mill Valley looking back on San Francisco. What I saw was a wall of white really, no skyline or anything. It wasn’t until 6pm that the fog started to move over the hills in Mill Valley and I got a mild feel of being in San Francisco.
Now out in the Sunset District we have fog on a daily basis. The kind of fog they made in the movies for all those horror films where you couldn’t see 20 feet in front of you. I experienced that full on during my drive home yesterday. After exiting the Waldo tunnel at around 60 mph I had to hit the brakes because the cars around me were fading out with ten feet. Once I got across the bridge and away from the inlet of the bay the fog was pretty much gone. The reality is that the fog here isn’t as bad as in other places in California where you get what they call tule fog that’s thick and to the ground and you really can’t see five feet in front of you. My Uncle Al used to talk about a trip up to the country where he’d have to get out in front of the car with a lantern so the car could follow him. THAT is fog.
I like fog. It’s kind of an insulating blanket that keeps in some heat, but not a lot of heat. It’s makes us have to use sunglasses less than other cities and if you’re a goth you look better in San Francisco than in say, Honolulu [yes, I have seen Hawaiian goths and they look pretty funny].
I like the fact that I don’t have to hop in my car to get to the corner store or grocery store or if I do get into my car I can eat food from at least 30 different countries within five minutes. I like the fact that when I call 911 I’ve got a fire station two blocks away and a police station a quarter mile away. Response is fast. In Mill Valley I looked on a map and couldn’t find a police or fire station within a five mile radius. When my wife went into labor in the middle of the night we were at the hospital within ten minutes and didn’t need to use a freeway to get there.
The crime rate is localized to a couple of areas of the city. Out here in the Sunset there’s an occasional robbery or car theft, but most are pot grow houses. It’s really not so bad here and I live having the close amenities and weather predictable. For the people who don’t like it here, try a year in say, Phoenix or Houston, then tell me how much you hated it here.