This is a little late in coming, but we got up early Saturday morning and hopped on a plane and are back east after a two hour layover in Philly. I got to have a cheesesteak from Geno’s at the airport which wasn’t very spectacular, but it was from an airport so I won’t hold it against them. The first leg of the flight was pretty awesome since it was real first class with an entertainment system, lie flat seats and decent food. The flight attendants were really, really nice. Especially when you’ve got an autistic daughter on her first flight and leaving home.
We’ve been running around while trying to get ourselves settled and adjust to weather that’s about 26° in the morning or “feels like..ARE YOU NUTS!!!!” Oddly enough I was just outside and it’s about 32°, but while it’s cold it’s not freezing.
So far I’ve noticed a few things like, you have to drive to get places, but there’s lots of freeways and less traffic so you get there faster. We’re staying in Holyoke, MA which is about 9 miles south of Northampton, MA where we’re looking to live and it takes maybe 15 minutes to drive there. Just as a comparison, when I was driving for Uber it could take me 30-45 minutes to drive 4 miles to get to downtown San Francisco.
Then there are the stores. We got Walmart here and it’s so big along with grocery stores like Big Y and Stop and Shop that my feet started to hurt after walking so much. Seriously, after growing up in San Francisco we’re talking grocery stores that are the size of Costco and just groceries. The other upside of being here is that the groceries are cheap. We’re staying in a suite with a kitchen so we stocked up last night and have a weeks worth of food for about $20. I think I rarely got out of a grocery store in SF for under $60.
Today we’re going to try and go a little north of Northampton, MA to Deerfield to visit the Yankee Candle Factory because our daughter has been really, really good throughout the transition and that should be a fun place for her to visit. Posts will be short and sporadic unlike my usual feature length articles, but it’ll be fun to share my experiences quickly.
Incidentally, I got up this morning to a snow flurry. While it’s been about 15 years since I’ve been in snow it wasn’t falling snow so this was a weird experience for a San Francisco Native to have. I probably looked like a goober doing this, but I shot a little video outside as I was experience falling snow for the first time since I was about 17. Enjoy!
This topic has been bothering me for awhile when I see people who are bloggers and journalists and sometimes both talking about being from San Francisco. Most of these people are in their 30’s or 40’s and have moved here maybe in the 90’s. They never seemed to be San Franciscans to me and the reason why finally came to me today.
It’s not that you have to be old to call yourself a San Franciscan. My daughter is only six and she’s a San Franciscan. She was born at Children’s Hospital like me and my mother. Then it hit me. You pretty much have to have gone through puberty in San Francisco to qualify as a San Franciscan. What’s so special about puberty? Well I’ll leave the jokes out along with the gray haired old ladies that were hip and with it who taught sex ed and scarred us for life. It’s more than that.
Going through puberty in San Francisco means that you went to elementary school and high school here. Even today if you are currently going through that it will change you and leave a mark on you that everyone will notice. It does in part have to do with what part of the city you’ve grown up in provided that you aren’t moving every couple of years. You should stay in the same place for at least 10 years. I’ve figured 10 years is a good length of time because by then you’ve spent enough time in one place where you can qualitatively say things like, remember when we… or gee this place had gone to crap. People who are always moving around in the city have never spent enough time to see the place change. I on the other hand have been in the same neighborhood for so long I’ve seen it change and change again a number of times. Why I remember when I could go by my neighbor’s house to get lumpia and not have to drive to Daly City. Oh, there I go. I remember when the only people without kids in the Sunset district were elderly drunks. Ah, that’s a good one I had almost forgotten.
There are a few people this doesn’t really apply to, but they still can call themselves San Franciscans. Willie Brown started here by going to San Francisco State in 1951 before serving as Mayor and Tony Bennett was a New Yorker who got his claim to fame by writing I left my heart in San Francisco which sort of gives him status. [Note to Willie and Tony: Can I get an interview?] I suppose people like this would come under the category of leaving your mark on San Francisco in a big way. I’m sure though that there are others who left their mark in a big way that some might dispute, but I think you get my idea.
If you’re wishing that you could have the old San Francisco back and you’re talking about the 90’s you aren’t a real San Franciscan unless you’re 20.
— Eric I remember when a successful start up mean you could drive to the store. Kauschen
If you’re going to San Francisco, September is the time to visit. During the Summer it’s always funny to watch the tourists who you can tell by their shorts and sandals in weather that’s cold and foggy, but come September we start our Indian Summer [or as the People’s Republic of Berkeley refer to it Indigenous Summer].
Some people call them the dog days of Summer, but since we had a huge Native American population here I was raised calling it Indian Summer. It gets a little drier and definitely warmer and sunnier. This is the time to wear your shorts and sandals. I think I can finally hang up my Winter coat and thermals that I wore during the Summer and get into some thinner clothing.
This is the time to sit outside at the local cafe drinking a cup of coffee with your sunglasses on and just enjoying the neighborhood. This is a time to trot down to the beach or search out some of the more rural areas down on the peninsula where it will be very hot. Take a trip down to Monterey and stroll along Cannery Row on the weekend. It’s the most beautiful time of year for San Francisco and the Bay Area and it’s the best weather you’ll ever see.
It’s one of the few times of the year where you will actually see a sunset in the Sunset District and the broken clouds out over the ocean only make the sunsets more spectacular. Travel up to Twin Peaks in the evening and you’ll get hit by a heat wave because all the sunlight from the day radiates upwards at night and the top of the hill on a clear night is an experience we all need to have at least once. This time of year I like to sit out on my deck at Sunset and enjoy some Hawaiian food as the sun goes down because it feels like Hawaii without the oppressive humidity.
Sure, I love the fog. That’s why I live out in the Sunset, but with the days shortening the blast of sun and warmth during the day that radiates into the night is one of the reasons I feel the most comfortable at this time of the year.