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Back To Work: Tech Bros, The Real Story

Tech BroI hear lots and lots from natives about how the Tech Bros are ruining the city. Now that I’m working with a lot of those Tech Bros I’ve learned a few things about them that I thought I’d share with you.

I was talking with lots of the people I work with about where they live and surprisingly, most of them like to live within walking distance to where they work. The majority live in SoMA with a few living on the edges of the Mission. Yes, there some that live in the Marina, but they are few and far between. Those in the Marina are the closest to a Tech Bro that everyone likes to talk about. Here’s what I found out about them though.

At least half of them don’t even live in San Francisco because even though they made very good money they don’t want to pay the exorbitant prices San Francisco charges. Many of those who do live in very small places within 15 minutes walking distance from work and there’s a very good reason for that. They’re rarely home. A 40 hour week would seem really nice to most of them, but there are quite a few who are there 50-80 hours a week. They eat breakfast at work, lunch at work and dinner at work. It’s rare they most of them leave before it’s dark and in many cases late at night.

The few that do tend to cut out early are more of the tech bro type that is vilified locally, but it is rare that you’ll ever see one West of Masonic because, well, even today, it’s too far away. Most of the people I work with are a lot like the people I grew up with. They like sports and video games and even TV which they’re usually watching at work because they’re there all the time. When they do have time off they’re usually renting a car and leaving the city or hopping on a plane to get out of the city because they want to get as far away from work as possible.

Those slackers sitting at a coffee shop staring at a laptop around the city aren’t what I see at work [I’m still not sure what they’re doing sitting in coffee shops all day long other than possibly updating their resumes because they don’t have jobs]. Where I work they’re there day in and day out working hard for their money. None of them own homes in San Francisco and for where they live they also aren’t displacing long term residents because in the long term no one has wanted to live where most of them lived or the places they live in weren’t there 10 years ago.

Perhaps I’m not seeing this problem because the tech bros that are being vilified are hopping on the tech shuttle buses and leaving the city. Those I’ve met that do work outside the city aren’t anywhere close to an age to purchase a house in San Francisco and usually again, they aren’t living in areas where people are outraged by the displacement of long term residents. I’m sorry, but the Mission is very much yesterday’s news to the techies of today from what I’m seeing. The Marina which has gotten a bad rap since the 80’s [what you don’t remember the douchebag preppies of the 80’s?] still has lots of trust fund kids, but they’re usually law students now and not working in the stock market like they were in the 80’s. People have said the Marina is too white, which actually isn’t true, as it’s gotten less white because it’s not mostly Italian immigrants anymore. It’s a very homogenized American neighborhood and yes, you will see more blondes, but lots of those blondes have dyed their hair and some are even of non-European origin. The main thing is that very few of them are tech workers and if they are it’s usually because their parents or grandparents have property there that they’re staying at.

OK, yes, there are some bad ones. I’ve seen the blog posts by entitled sounding higher ups in tech companies who live here and while some of their concerns about the homeless problem are valid saying, why can’t we just get rid of the homeless isn’t a real solution to the problem unless they mean to find a way to stop them from being homeless.

So in the end I feel that those who blame techies for the destruction of San Francisco [especially if they happen to live West of Masonic] is false because the people saying this probably don’t have much interaction with them if any at all. Are techies changing San Francisco? Sure. Just as the Beatniks, Hippies, Gays, Punk Rockers and Metal Heads have over the years. There will always be a group that is blamed for the downfall of San Francisco, but in the end they end up leaving a mark on the city just like those who came before them.

Next: Tech Food and Free Beer Fridays

The Knight Driver: NSFW

Beware, the knight Driver...WARNING! This post is not safe to read at work if you have people who work with you who will lean over your shoulder in weird positions and angles to view the little type on your screen and then complain about sexual harassment or some other sort of thing.

As many of you know I’ve been driving for one of the local ridesharing companies and in a few of the posts I have made on Facebook, friends of mine have suggested that I write an article about it. In no way is this a reflection on any of the ridesharing companies that operate in SF. This is more just observations of people I’ve met along the way.

At first many people have said things like, I bet you have a lot of stories to tell. In reality, I don’t. Most of the people are nice normal people. Actually they’ve become a lot nicer and more normal since there have been a few changes to the way the system works so the oddballs I don’t see too much of anymore. There have been a few that I’ve given rides to and those were in the mostly under 30 range so they haven’t had the time to realize some of the things they’re saying. As an example…

JOB INTERVIEW GIRL

Nice girl. Kind of bubbly, but in a good way. We’re talking as I’m giving her a ride and she says to me…Is this dress too slutty for a job interview? OK, my mind is racing with responses. Like, depends, what position are you trying for at the Mitchell Brothers? or If you have to ask… No that wouldn’t be good to say because then she would ask what I asking. In the end I just asked her if her interview was with a law firm and she said no, Hot Topic. OK, you’re fine. That’s good because most law firms don’t like pink and purple striped hair in general.

THERAPY GIRL

Girl gets in the car while talking to someone on the phone and I can hear that the conversation is going bad. OK, bye… and the flood gates open. She starts crying. I suggest that she have some candy that I have in the back because candy makes everything better. She then starts to tell me why she’s crying.

Her: I told my boyfriend we were getting too serious and that we should start seeing other people.

Me: and let me guess. He’s seeing other people.

Her: YEEEESSSSSSS! <wailing tone>

Me: Well that’s what you wanted to do right?

Her: Yes, but I’M not seeing anyone else yet.

Me: Well generally when you say we should start seeing other people that usually means you’re already seeing other people.

Her: I know I fucked up didn’t I <still crying>

Me: So where are you going now?

Her: A bar. [name deleted so people don’t think it’s a spot for finding rebound girls]

Me: It’s Friday night, fix your make up and everything will be better tomorrow.

Her: I know it’s still early.

Me: He was probably an asshole anyway. [that’s still a line all girls tell their friends right?]

I would have sent her a bill for the therapy session, but all I had was her first name and I don’t want to get labeled as a creepy driver for contacting riders later unless they left something in my car.

I’M NOT A SLUT, YOU’RE A SLUT!

Oh boy. I’ve seen a lot in my life, but I didn’t expect this one. PLEASE people when you accept a ride from someone you have to remember whether it’s a rideshare company or a cabbie that there is someone there who is driving the car that can hear what you’re saying. Two girls get in the car and I knew right away this was going to be kind of different.

Girl 1: So remember that guy I hooked up with a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been seeing?

Girl 2: You mean the one you said had a small penis?

Girl 1: Yeah, I call him “little Richard”.

Girl 2: You do not!

Girl 1: I do

Girl 2: So how is he? How are things going?

Girl 1: Alright, but he’s kind of sleazy.

Girl 2: How so?

Girl 1: He like pulls it out of my ass and tries to put it in my mouth.

Girl 2: <silence>

Me: <Dare I ask if it was the first date?>

That pretty much ended the entire awkward conversation until I dropped them off and they ran away from the car.

HIPSTER DOUCHEBAGS

This was a first for me. I’ve talked about hipsters, heard other people talk about them, but I had never met one or more that were so stereotypical.

Hipster 1: The Yeah yeah yeahs were awesome!

Hipster 2: True, but I was there for The National.

Hipster 1: It’s so weird that we just met at Outside Lands and we both live a block away from each other in the Mission.

Hipster 2: Yeah I know. I’m going to get a burrito when we get dropped off.

Hipster 1: El Farolito rocks!

Hipster 2: Quesadilla Suiza DUDE!

Hipster 1: So what do you do?

Hipster 2: Well a just moved out here a couple of months ago and got a job with a tech company and I’m the ambassador of their product line so they send me to London to get their social media voice more prominent.

Hipster 1: No way! I do the same thing for my company, but they send me to South America to do the same thing. I usually stay over an extra week so I can more fully experience their culture, but I usually spend it drinking on the beach.

Me: ????

If I am lying, I’m dying. I did not make that up. The only thing missing from that conversation was PBR and American Spirit cigarettes. Now I understand much better the locals who complain about the hipsters ruining their taquerias. On the plus side I got a 50% tip.

Farting Passengers

Look, I understand it’s a natural body function and all that, but if you’re only going to be in my car for around 15 minutes don’t you think you could at least hold it until you got out? Or maybe, oh, I don’t know. Roll down the windows afterwards? This is something that I found seemed to happen with the under 30 crowd which I’ve been getting less and less of now that we’re getting closer to the end of summer here. The biggest problem for me is that I have to air out the car before the next person gets in because you don’t want people complaining that your car stinks when they rode in it. Luckily I carry a can of ozium just in case this happens and I pull over and spray the car and close it up for a couple of minutes before I start driving again. Since people used it in the 70’s to get the smell of pot smoke out of the air I figured it would be a good choice and it works really well against, ahem, offensive odors. Luckily it’s something that I haven’t had a problem with in the past couple of weeks.

That’s a pretty good sample of some of the people I’ve given rides to, but as I said most are pretty normal people. I’ve got four people who are regulars who I feel like they’re my best buddies since they get in and we carry on where we left off a few days before. Those people I’ve given cards to so they can read my blog. The people I’ve written about above, I don’t want to give cards to. I don’t mean any ill will towards them, but they really need to be careful about what they’re telling people when they get into the car with a stranger…

Nickel and Dimed to Death

I read an article about a measure that now Sheriff Ross Mikarimi wants to pass that would charge people 10¢ per paper bag at grocery stores and would go up to 25¢ per bag in 2013. While I’m all about being green and a progressive I think Ross needs to think about this measure a bit more.

San Francisco has outlawed plastic bags a couple of years ago and had in affect an ordinance for a short time whereby people who brought their own bags would be paid 10¢ per bag for being green. They’ve since dropped that and being green and bringing your own bags while helping the environment, doesn’t get you any payback. Now Ross wants to force grocery stores to sell you the bags or be fined and the stores get to keep the money.

Hmmm…Let’s think about this for a second. You’re told you have to charge people for something you were giving away or else you have pay the city money and the money you collect you get to keep. I don’t see any stores arguing with Ross Mirkarimi’s proposal. If anything it will win him brownie points from all the big box grocery stores. I do think that Ross is missing a bit of the tit for tat on this. If you’re going to charge me for a grocery bag then it only would be fair that I should be able to charge you for bringing my bags. I would also like to insist that  if I bring my own bags that the store double bag everything paying me 20¢-50¢ per package because I don’t want to have to keep going out and purchasing new bags all the time.  After all Ross, it’s only the fair way of doing business, am I correct?

I have lots of bags that I would bring to the store and I’ve got good strong arms so that I would insist that ever item I purchase would be packaged individually and that I be paid back in equal kind. If I have to pay 25¢ per bag I should be paid back 25¢ for each bag I bring in and use, therefore if I purchase 20 items and bring 20 bags I should get a $5 discount on my grand total.$10 if I insist on double bagging.

This is how we as San Franciscans should look at this. If you want to take from the people, you should be willing to give back. This measure doesn’t benefit the city in anyway, but helps the stores out by dimes and quarters [I would say nickels and dimes, but that’s irrelevant today]. I don’t mind progressive thinking as long as it’s well thought out. This measure isn’t very well thought out and Ross needs to sit back and think about what he wants to achieve because last time I checked brownie points don’t buy you much anymore.

 

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