Moving to San Francisco

  • Living in The City means you always have the opportunity to experience something special, or go to some stimulating place….or just wander around and see where your legs are carrying you.  This a city full of people who always try to get the best out of their situation and they seem to be enjoying themselves at doing that. But there’s always this strange tension between the city’s classes of residents, and this becomes more visible and apparent by the year.

  • San Francisco weather is often windy and cold, especially during the early months of summer. Mind you, though, the weather could be totally different not even half a mile from where you’re at.

  • San Francisco is expensive, VERY EXPENSIVE!  If you belong to the group of lucky and privileged San Francisco residents who enjoy rent control, you’re good, but in case you are a young man who would like to relocate to this idyllic and liberal ‘Mecca of the Free’, you will require some pretty serious deep pockets to make ends meet here. The minimum hourly wage in the city that’s referred to in the region as ‘The City’ was $9.25, but I needed to work in a tipped Marina restaurant for six days per week and still could hardly come up with the usual $1000 a month rent, quite normal in The City. EVERYTHING is VERY expensive here. Every local business is also taxed heavily, since the local government seems to be thinking that all those who can afford to be living here can as well afford to be paying a top premium for doing that.
  • Mind you. Theater offerings and quality in San Francisco are nowhere near the offerings and quality you may expect in cities like New York, and even Los Angeles wins!
  • There is not one city in America that has more homelessness than San Francisco, and that despite the enormous amount of dollars that are spent here to (supposedly) prevent that. If you stroll around SF’s downtown area, you’ll need to wear headphones, or you’ll get begged for money at least ten times per single block. Expect to witness degradation and filth like you’ve never seen before. Most of the City’s houses and buildings are terribly old and have continuously lacked any maintenance. Several buildings still have cracked walls from the 1989 quake, and heroin addicts, crackheads, and alcoholics are all around.
  • In San Francisco, there’s no easy way to get from North to South, not by bus nor by car. Going from East to West is relatively easy via Fulton Street and Lincoln Avenue, but if you want to get North or South on, for example, Van Ness or any other street, you must have quite some patience. Taking a bike or even walking can at times be a lot faster.
  • There are parts of The City that for decades have only smelled like urine, and there are also parts that smell even worse.  You’ll find street poop in just about every neighborhood, though it should be noted that the source of this phenomenon may vary by neighborhood. On the other hand, some people say that San Francisco’s air is cleaner than that of any other major city, though on practically every corner you can smell pot smoke.
  • There is so much conflict and contradiction within the city, and often I get the idea that many people here are carrying all their pent-up frustrations after all those decades of hoping that their neighbors  finally got the message to get quiet after 12 p.m. on a Monday night, or looking at the more or less permanent encampments full of homeless people that foul up the underpasses and alleyways.
  • San Francisco’s education system is like a lottery. Literally. To get your children into one of the city’s public school, you really are required to win the lottery! Mind you, if you want to move here!
Mark Thomas