The Terrible Truths About San Francisco

Mila Zinkova

San Francisco is, alas, not a city. It is a large, filthy village. Not many people live here. BART — the train that connects this podunk town to other podunk towns in what’s called The Bay Area — stops running at midnight. At midnight, yes, that’s right.

Restaurants close at around 9; they’ll kick you out if you’re still eating come 10.

Did I mention that this city is filthy? And I mean not just filthy but fetid. It’s all the moisture in the air coupled with the astronomical homeless population: it breeds the most grotesque disease. The Bubonic Plague is back — in SF. I’m not kidding.

It’s not a friendly city. As it is overrun with 26 year olds, it has that very particular post-collegiate angst. People go out in cliques. Rarely are these cliques penetrated. In my brief time in LA, everywhere I went, people would look up to see….if I was a star. Still, they actually made eye contact. Not in SF. Lord knows what might happen should you lock eyes with a stranger. (Now try being a single guy. In SF, the women prefer online dating to real space encounters. Eeesh.)

The whole city is organized like a college campus with its egregious sororities and fraternities. Somehow, if you live in a certain neighborhood, it means you are a type — a Marina girl, a Mission hipster, a Noe Valley yuppie (which is ironic as the new SF hipsters are the new yuppies — they don’t work for banks, as they did in the 80s; they work for Apple — corporate lackies who party).

The thing about 26 year olds is that they feel like they’re the first to discover whatever it is they’ve discovered. Raw food! French press coffee! Pho! While I enjoy the excitement they feel at their discovery, their self-righteousness undoes said enjoyment.

Of course, I came here 20 years ago, when I was 21 and it was amazing — cheap and filled with freaks. Now it’s freakishly expensive and all those young ‘uns? They work for Google (or Apple or Yahoo or Genetech; there is an endless parade of corporate buses barreling up and down Guerrero headed to or from the Peninsula on a daily basis).

Don’t get me wrong. There are some things to love about this city. The sky, for instance, is fucking amazing — impossibly close and ever aswirl. And the ocean is right there. And, yes, there is a lot of good coffee. A lot. It’s silly, in fact, how much good coffee there is — and each shop is owned and managed by those 26 year olds. And the food: I can get locally grown, organic produce, meat, and cheese on nearly any corner of the city. That is amazing and not to be taken for granted.

But, fuck, it’s such a socially and culturally limited town that it distracts itself with 10 million breeds of kale and an equal number of coffee roasteries. If we keep eating, maybe we won’t notice that we live in a filthy village of anxiety riddled 20-somethings.

Ah, maybe I’m just a curmudgeon. Maybe I’ve outgrown this dirty playground. Thing is, I’m stuck here. Suddenly, I feel like Joseph Garcin.TC mark

More From Thought Catalog

  • Wi Na

    Yep….although now that we're in our late 30s/early 40s we can just choose to ignore those 26 year olds and stick with other post-angst, post-flake survivors of Twentysomethings In San Francisco and enjoy our crazy awesome food in peace.

    Good call on the eye contact and corporate buses, but it sounds like you need to move north of Market…..it's not that gross once you get past Hayes Valley, provided you never ride Muni.

    • Daniel Coffeen

      I've been thinking the same thing.  But like a moron, I keep going back to the Mission — where I lived for 20 years.  If only cabs weren't an absurdity here.  As for MUNI, those urinals on tracks….

      • http://staugustine2.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

        I feel your pain… or, I can remember feeling it. I saw the writing on the wall and left the country, the first time, in 1990.  After being gone a good long time, nostalgia got the better of me and I returned to the US for a brief stint (in So Cal)… culminating in the surreal wake-up call of the Bush2 election. I'm glad I saw the last couple of years of pre-Police State North America but I boxed my books and got out again, for good, before the inauguration.  I didn't fall, for one *second*, for the sleight-of-hand of BO's election (once you figure out how that particular trick works, you're immune to it).

        As Americans, we're saturated with incredibly intense propaganda, from birth, that it's the best place on Earth by any measure… which is utter bullshit; it's not even the best place on Earth by *some* measures. Better than plenty of places, still, for sure… but that's not saying much.

        I now live in a baronial flat in a mostly-clean, very safe (compared to Nebraska) city with a vivid cultural life. My wife is double-take-worthy beautiful, well-read, speaks English with a sexy accent and is 16 years younger than I am, which isn't even considered a big deal (fewer Puritans over here, you see ). We're both self-employed creatives, we have mind-boggling health-care, a little money in the bank, no debt, no crack houses within 1,000 Km. We wake up every morning when we feel like it (or when our 5-year-old forces us). Don't need a car, never watch the goddamn idiot box, fuck  instead of desperately chasing depression-numbing-distractions in over-priced restaurants you have to step over rotting corpses to enter.

        You're not too old! Make an escape plan, save some money and get-the-fuck out… because the real shit hasn't even hit the fan yet.

        (Caveat: most of the American expats you bump into, over here, are 26).

      • Jelly Roll Morton

        where did you move??

      • tadr1t

        I'd really like to know where you emigrated? I'd like to get a hot wife too!

      • http://profiles.google.com/mopeyprincess mopey P

        mail order. (yall are nasty)

      • andre1hendrik

        ditto — where are you living now?

      • Swimchick315

        do tell

      • http://twitter.com/luxoj Luxurious Josh

        Where do you live? I am desperately trying to leave the states for good. What you have sounds like what I want, except for the kid :

      • http://twitter.com/JosephErnest Joseph Ernest Harper

        New Zealand mate. Sooooooooo many righteous babes.

  • ObliqueFetalFatal

    TL;DR Get off my lawn

  • PhermonousFan

    TL;DR get off my lawn

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1415031788 Sharif Youssef

      You'll understand when you're older.

  • JD

    A lot of this could just as easily be applied to NYC (such as the lame 26 year-olds). I'll take the Apple and Google yuppies of SF over the Patrick Bateman-esque finance sociopaths in NYC any day.

    I've lived in NYC for 7 years, but from SF and I'm moving back later this year. I can't take the people here any longer. The raw, ruthless ambition of people willing to kick you in front of a truck to get ahead; the dismal dating scene where people are on a never-ending search to trade up to the next best thing; the lack of easy access to nature and the ocean; the overall competitive, cutthroat environment of pretty much any industry you're in. I want to leave here before any more of my humanity gets sucked out of me.

    I <3 San Francisco!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1415031788 Sharif Youssef

      I used to feel that way about SF, especially as Chicago began to change in the way you described New York (but to a lesser extent). Unfortunately, I went back for some time and saw exactly the kind of thing Daniel is talking about.

  • Phenomenological Necessity

    I can relate to this: I'm 26 and I'm having a negative aesthetic impact on my environment.

  • Bilb_Ono

    Never been to SF myself, but man, if the writer doesn't like it there, by his description he wouldn't like Boston either! (But then again, who does?)

    • Coaster

      Having lived in both Boston and SF I can assure that his description of SF is pretty spot on.  Boston is both cleaner and friendlier than SF.  Who would have thought right?

  • Token Vegano

    I really hesitate to bring this up–I don’t want to be one of those who always does–but as a vegan stuck out in a real podunk town, I have to say, being in SF means that you are living in vegan heaven. And this fact does two things to me: 1) makes me infinitely jealous of your situation, even if it is replete with aesthetic maladies; and 2) convinces me that it should be even more of an moral imperative to “go veg” if only because, in your shoes, it would be so damn easy to do it.

  • Katherine

    Dear Daniel,

    Why so glum? What do you care if the BART stops running at midnight, unless you don't actually live in San Francisco? Of COURSE 26 year-olds are obnoxious, drunk on the first flush of an adult-sized paycheck. The paychecks for the extra-fancy tech jobs a brain meltingly huge. Perhaps that's why the swinging dicks of the under-30 income bracket are so noticeable- most of us don't make that much money. In fact, best beloved, I'll let you in on a lil' secret here: more than one or two of us spent large amounts of time humping desks at unpaid internships just to get the entry-level positions we're now desperately grateful for in this post-dot.com, post-Bush, post-yo'Mama's credit-card economy. 

    The subcultures of the city are part of what makes ess-eff a City. I adore hating on the Marina. I couldn't figure out what was so creepy about it until a beautiful brown lady-friend of mine let me know that she didn't want to grab brunch out there because folks in the Marina are so white-washed that she gets the heebie-jeebies walking around. The Mission is wonderful-awful because it's full of people who wish they were in New York, and act like it. I dig on the dissention. We could use more of it. I can't think of a city where you are less likely to get your ass kicked, except maybe Seattle. Or Boulder. Up with sub-culture! Up with weird!

    As for online dating. . .this is a red herring. You're living in the beating heart of social media, sugar. This is where it all flows out from. I don't know that women are driving this any more than men. It's hard to sort out where people are these days, short of cruising twinks in the Alley behind the Beach Chalet for a bj. Try a farmers market, or a book reading, or any of the umpteen-jillion music festivals that San Francisco has for freezy all-summer long. Or the free movies in the parks, also all summer long. Holy shit, am I making a case? Is San Francisco not a large, filthy village? Is it just your ATTITUDE that is fetid? Ah-HAH!

    This must be the case. A crap barista gave you a bullshit cup of coffee and then perhaps you stepped in poo and the Mission smelled like extra-strong pee and tacos when this was written. All your faith in this city can't be gone, n'est ce pas? Have some good grub, get out to the beach, find somebody beautiful to kiss, this City will start looking good again.

    for the young and earnest,
    Katherine

    • Daniel Coffeen

      Of course it's my fetid attitude!  I thought that was obvious…Of course, this city doesn't help. You mention sub-culture and weird but, I gotta tell you, this city is not weird. It is homogeneous and conservative. This is not a city of freaks, of individuals, of independent thought. It is a city with a pre-packaged agenda of what counts as acceptable — familiar liberal politics, dogmatic nonsense, knee-jerk responses to all discussions of the so-called political, $20 hamburgers and $4 donuts.

      In NY, where I hailed from ages ago, there is/was a certain appreciation for the character, for the person who'd hold forth in an odd way. Not here. Odd here means dressing up in goofy clothes and then saying the same old shit — but in Burlesque mode, which is supposed to be weird but, at this point, just ain't.

      As for online dating, I am not averse to it: I agree with you wholeheartedly about new social media. My point was that cliques of women — at least in the Mission — are not receptive to men (or not as receptive as in other cities where grown ups live). My comment was not about online dating but about clique mentality.

      Oh, the Mission pre-98, pre dot com, was the best place I'd ever been — a true community of artists and freaks, thinkers and perverts. I just don't see it any more. We lived on very little because the city was cheap cheap cheap. No more. Now, I see life tourists tying one on before heading back to Google Monday morning.

      It's not their fault; I don't blame them; I don't blame anyone (but myself, perhaps).  It just makes me sad.

      • anonymouse

        The 20-something women in the Mission don't like you because you're a grouchy old cunt, Daniel Coffeen, not because they're 'not receptive to men'.

      • Daniel Coffeen

        “Grouchy old cunt”: love it.  Pretty much nails it on the head. That's how I'm gonna describe myself from now on.  Truly.  Thanks!

      • Katherine

        Dear Daniel,

        I gave this a bit of thought over the course of the rest of the weekend. As I type this response, I'm sitting on the Fabulous Fulton 5, on my way to work. There are a lots of knee-jerks in this city, and lots of jerks. There's also a lot of weird. 

        I trust you when you tell me that $20 dollar burgers exist, but I haven't crossed paths with one yet. Fancy-pants burgers aren't in my constellation in this City, and that fact might contribute to why there is a high-octane quantity of weird still permeating my existence. As incomes rise, and quality of life (and beef) becomes more rarified, you have the option to eliminate that which displeases you, the noise and shuffle. 

        This is good! Of COURSE, and I too would like to pull into my own garage at the end of the day, instead of schlepping home on the bus, bawling out the rando's who've decided that I am the lucky girl who should receive the dry hard rub of a strangers cock on a crowded muni ride home. Absolutely it's nice to smooth out the edges of one's world, and eliminate as much of the unwanted elements of the large, filthy village as possible.

        The other side of the coin (Janus, you know the story, prof) is that all of the weirdos live in that filth. That's where they (dare I say we) are out rolling around, making our weird. Crouching in the bushes, being poor in the garages of the sunset, stopping over on a sofa for three months en route to Portland, or working three jobs and posting demos on tumblr. Disregarding the filth is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. 

        I'll draw one more comparison before I let you go. There's another city I'd call my own, where I've lived on and off over the course of my life. Incidentally, Paris is another city where the denizens shit all over it and discuss how terrible it is and how the la Tour is a monstrosity and the Louvre was destroyed when I. M. Pei put up his wretched pyramids, yet people don't leave in droves, best beloved. They arrive in droves. 

        And last comment to go with the comparison: If women in the mission are seeming a bit clique-ey to you, it might be because you are not A.) a lesbian or B.) in a band. 

        For the Caffeinated,
        Katherine

      • http://www.facebook.com/mutosheep Marcus Brownlee

        I don’t understand how you people can complain about the vagrants and vandals that you invite to your city by implementing all your socialist wellfare programs and Nazi rules and regulations. If you stop rewarding bad behavior and punishing the righteous maybe things will get better. You have only yourselves to blame.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mutosheep Marcus Brownlee

        The females in this region are raised to believe that they are superior to men, and that men are the enemy, to be conquered by means of guile and sociopathic manipulation, and by the brute force of the fascist police state. Why would any man wish to endure an attitude like that? Go to Texas. There are real women there, not stupid, selfish girls.

    • andre1hendrik

      Which beach?  Ocean Beach?  That place reminds me of that line in Blade Runner: “accelerated decrepitude”.   While I agree with your overall point that there's a lot to be grateful for in SF, Daniel clearly hits on some points that will resonate with a large number of people.

      I'm not sure which subcultures you speak of . . . as far as “up with weird” is concerned, I've arrived at the conclusion that SF's weirdo culture is nothing more than an excuse to get intoxicated, and pretend that having tattoos and facial jewelry makes one a non-conformist, or creative.  The point I'm trying to make is: where is the art, literature and music that is so good that it is respected and followed around the world?  SF seems to have a very low cultural output, and I think some of the fault with that lies in the people who have a misguided belief that being weird, or being ironic, is actually creative (“it's so bad, it's GOOD: we're dancing to hair metal AND knowing that it sucks!  Let's go to a dive: it's so disgustingly run-down that it's COOL!”).

      I've enjoyed hating on the Marina in the past as well, but a friend of mine mad an interesting observation – at least, for all their excruciatingly loud behavior, the people in the Marina are somehow more genuine than their hipster/techy counterparts.  And on an individual level, most of them are genuinely friendly.  The people in the Marina *know* they have stifling, uncreative jobs: that's why they overcompensate come Friday night.  The Tipsy Pig on Chestnut have one of the best burgers in SF, every time I order one at the bar I'm surrounded by loud, boorish Americana.  But a lot of the people invited me in to their conversations as well.  The people in the Mission on the other hand, either feel they have a moral superiority because they don't really do anything, or, pretend they are making the world a better place by designing insipid social media when they are really chasing the big bucks.  But they shop at Whole Foods, practice yoga, drive a Prius and drink Fair Trade coffee, so they ultimately consider themselves Good Persons.  I enjoy getting a beer at the Latin American club, but the patrons their -while never rude- never seemed that welcoming either.

      Anyway, I was born in SF and I”ll always love SF.  During those warm weeks in November, I can't imagine wanting to be anywhere else.  But I agree with Daniel that many parts of our City seem so run down, dilapidated.  And for a city the size of SF, it really is a bit of a big town that shuts down early on on weekend evenings.  This city feels a bit provincial.  And I still love it.  But to keep that love alive, I suppose it's time to live somewhere else for a while.
       
      Thanks for letting me rant : )

      • Katherine

        Ocean Beach may not be Oahu, but it's large and wet and it ain't Fargo. I'd venture to say that such the placement of such magnificence, in your case, margaritas ante porcos. 

        I'll keep this short, as I'm running out of time on the bus: no literature followed around the world? Just off the top of my noggin, best beloved: 

        McSweeney's
        Chron Books
        Perseus Books
        Zoetrope
        City Lights Books
         

        and my stop is coming up, but good grief man. I don't have the energy to argue with you here. If you can't find art in San Francisco, what good is living here doing you? Why aren't you in Fargo? If it's so bad, so devoid of culture and weird, why not scamper down to Los Angeles for a bit? And here's Market Street, and off I go.

        K

    • Marvin Beauchamps

      You can get great grub here, find lots of hot girls to kiss (they’re so modern they often don’t mind skipping that part), and it behold beautiful scenery. However, the beaches are cold as hell and there are way too many pussies in this city. But yes, if you’re worried about getting your ass kicked, then this is definitely the city for you. After all, a hipster fruitcake’s smugness can’t hurt you the way a bullet can.

  • Catgrass

    I have to disagree with the college campus comment…the city is a crowded series of grids smashed into each other. Then again, I'm biased because I spent most my college time at Berkeley. Much more spread out. Wouldn't you agree?

    I'm not offended, though. I still live in the east bay. Please conjur some stereotypes and tell me where I work, how old I am, and where I like to go. Shouldn't be so hard for you.

    • Daniel Coffeen

      Uh, my point was the college campus mentality drives me nutty. I don't care where anyone lives. Get the best deal and enjoy yourself.

      As for SF being spread out, I'm not sure which city you're talking about.

      • catgrass

        oops

  • anonymouse

    You sound like a grouchy old man who's jealous he doesn't party anymore.  
    “But, fuck, it’s such a socially and culturally limited town that it
    distracts itself with 10 million breeds of kale and an equal number of
    coffee roasteries.” I'm sorry, but this is just blatantly untrue.  Maybe if you hang around the same neighborhoods all the time and only see the same people, this is what you get.  If you cared enough to walk around or expand your horizons, you might notice that SF is an incredibly diverse and crazy city.  You only experience what you seek out.

    • guest

      If by diverse you mean Midwest transplants, then yes SF is a diverse place. People of color and low socio-economic standing are fleeing the city.

      • http://twitter.com/luxoj Luxurious Josh

        They are not fleeing the city. The city is wiping them out by gentrification, ridiculous prices for everything, no jobs for their skill level, etc. Look at the Mission it's already happened there, I just about shit my pants when I read that white yuppies and hipsters (well their parents) are moving into and buy property in Hunter Point.

      • anonymouse

        Are you shitting me?  Go to the Tenderloin, go to Bayview.  White people need to stop fucking bitching about gentrification.  There are no minorities in the Starbucks you frequent, I'm guessing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mutosheep Marcus Brownlee

      The only thing blatantly untrue is the so called diversity of San Francisqueer. Everyone there thinks exactly the same way, as they have been told to by the government. Even when one member of the group has a thought that is slightly off-agenda or in opposition to the group or ringleader, that socialist stays quiet for fear of being rebuked by the ignorant sleeze balls he/she considers the ultimate authority in everything about life. Anyone who vioces a different opinion or acts out of the “norm” for that sick place is attacked on all sides and with every means until they conform, leave, or die. Anybody who thinks that San Francisco is diverse is living in a false reality. I am sad that I must drive on the same road as you. At least my truck will protect me and your Toyota Penis or VW Pissant will crush and kill you.

  • catgrass

    The disdain for 26-year-olds is actually hilarious and wonderfully pointed, given that it's on Thought Catalog. It feels kind of masturbatory reading this site sometimes – so many articles shaped as timelines that start in high school and end when you're 23. 

    Of course, I also love that this site is a safe place for young people to write about their own experiences. We can't pretend to be wiser than we are.

  • Jelly Roll Morton

    I wouldn't say you've outgrown it. I'd say it's shrunk in the wash.

  • Guest

    Finally.  Daniel Coffeen writes an interesting article, and doesn't drop in his usual dose of obfuscatory language.  Daniel – You are sooo much better when you write like you do in this article.  This was great!

    • Daniel Coffeen

      While I appreciate the props, I hope you understand that I write for different audiences for different reasons. I am a fucking philosophy professor — what you call obfuscatory language is, for some such as myself, pedestrian language.  Can't I do as much without the incessant ad hominem critiques? Doesn't writing hold the promise of allowing the writer to become different people?

      99% of writing on TC — and in the world — is not for me. I loathe academic journals, too. But you know what? I don't have to read them. I don't criticize them as I assume, and understand, there are different audiences looking for different things from writing, from the world. So I excuse myself from that audience and move on.

      • You're Cute

        “I am a fucking philosophy professor”

      • guesst

        Why are you writing this on a site for 20-somethings then?  This is not the audience for whom your language is pedestrian, you pretentious piece of shit.

      • JohnM

        I for one love Coffen's stuff on this site, it's refreshing to see some real perspective.

      • guesst

        Then why write for Thought Catalog?  Your audience is 20-somethings for whom your language is mostly not pedestrian, you pretentious piece of shit.

      • http://twitter.com/rislynsey christopher lynsey

        Someday 20 somethings will be 30 somethings…

  • pebbles

    I've been here a year, and am slowly coming to the conclusion that there is no “there” there as far as the city goes. There are certainly great restaurants and museums, but let's face it, it is definitely fueled by 26 year old Asians who travel in packs. If you are twice that age and white, you aren't really in on the excitement. I used to live in SoCal and had lots of Asian friends as they mingled with everyone else. And I agree 100% with the 26 year old overenthusiasm for everything, especially pho! I go to the same places and I'm always thinking “Well, maybe it was an off night” and the ubiquitous germ-ridden foggy/misty/wind doesn't help. I am still shopping for the oxymoron that is a “summer coat” so I can survive another “summer.”

    • ick

      everyone else, huh?

      red flag.

    • GoldGlass

      Are you consciously quoting Gertrude Stein's words on Oakland, or are you oblivious? by the rest of your comment, I would guess you're oblivious.

  • FC

    I am 26 and would like to think I can handle this quality of criticism…especially since a lot of it is true regarding those of “us” that inhabit cities. 

    However, I'd love to hear from some of the original free-thinkers, beats, hippies, perverts, freaks etc etc that made up the culture in SF before the fart-smelling yuppies took over in the 80's or 90's or whenever. People are always nostalgic for a different generation or time, and youth will always be wasted on the young.

  • http://twitter.com/blingless Dave P

    The future belongs to minor cities.

  • http://twitter.com/Blackcatno9 Kyrsten Bean

    This is a funny conversation. 
    San Francisco is a city I will always love. The one thing that stays the same, it seems, is the abundance of beautiful Victorians and amazing architecture, and of course, the skyline. I never got tired of riding the bus around the city. It seemed like I saw a new intriguing building every day. And yes, the coffee. But I have entertained similar rants at times. I lived in the Inner Richmond for years, across from Golden Gate Park (I grew up in the East Bay) and loved it. I felt like I had found my home. Suddenly I was around people I understood. Creatives, artists, writers, miscreants, architects, intellectuals, outright crazies…people going to college, people leaving college, single people, married people, old people, young people, ugly people and so many beautiful people living in flats with hardwood floors and big bay windows. I moved out due to the stress of city living after years of rushing and pushing for everything, and a remembered need for wide open spaces. I've missed it, but over the years I've accepted that I no longer live there and the landscape right now is not one that I feel anything more than a stranger in. I visited the Mission with some old friends and felt aghast at how it had changed. This wasn't like the 90's when everything started to be more popular to those with means. It's more like, “Wtf happened here?” Even my favorite burrito place, a staple for years, has changed. The shops have changed. The people who live there have changed. And it's not just the skinny jeans and other costumes I see people wearing. The energy is different. It's foreign to me and I can't describe it. Many of the people I used to know in the city have also moved to the East Bay. San Francisco – in the Mission and elsewhere – has become more like Berkeley (urgh) and Portland. Take that to mean what it will…in my early twenties I could handle it. Now I think I've just grown tired of the same parades and charades. I never thought I'd outgrow the city-living idealism of my twenties but alas, it may be so. And I never had all the money to blow like the people who live there now. Or maybe I did, and it was fleeting. Few bills, no car, cheap rent. That's how I remember it. Times have changed. What I will always love about San Francisco is the landscape and the architecture. The history of complete wildness and chaos that started the whole city back in the day. Dirt and brothels, Victorian mansions and eccentric rich people. The myriad hills that wind up and down, revealing views that draw your breath out of your stomach and then are gone just as soon. The Castro. Hot Cookie. Globba. All the little boutiques everywhere. That I could walk most everywhere, if I felt like it. And the feeling. I miss the feeling of being home every time I drove up over Fell street and hit the stretch after Divisadaro.

    • criminology

      TL;DR

  • http://twitter.com/NIKO93 Alex Nikolov

    I kind of suspect that you wrote this whole post just so you could use the word “curmudgeon”.

  • Rachel Brodsky

    I couldn't agree more about the cliques. I lived in SF for little under a year, and had the hardest time making friends. The cliques are impenetrable!

    • Kate

      I've lived here for about 6 months and have hardly made any friends either. I find the quality of people here to be low somehow, which is odd considering how many 'transplants' I encounter. But seriously – making friends is impossible. People are flaky, standoffish and fratty.

      • Kevin Williams

        I'm not too sure what Rachel and Kate are doing to try and make friends…I moved here three years ago and made friends pretty quickly, and I'm not counting co-workers.

      • Coaster

        So maybe you could share your secret?  I have to agree with Rachel and Kate – it’s hard to make friends here.  Sure people will be superficially nice to you but actually be friendly or inviting – definitely not, they need to make sure that you know that they know that you are an outsider and not a true San Franciscan.

      • twirly

        I feel the same way after 6 mos. here. I’ve never heard so much as an intelligent conversation here. Main ones I hear are people screaming obscenities into their cell phones, at their dates, or just into the air. 

        It’s like a big dorm/loony bin here.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mutosheep Marcus Brownlee

        It’s hard to get past the hate of people who always call others haters and the closed mindeness of those who accuse others of having closed minds. None of them are real friends anyway. The only time they would back each other in a fight is if the other guy was already on the ground. They constantly steal from eachother, talk behind their friends’ backs, and share diseases. I’ve found that the best way to make friends who are worth a damn is to be yourself and stand up for what you believe in. The open hatred from so many sickos will attract the attention of others who are worthy of your time.

    • Guest666

      rachel i'd be yer friend and i'm in nyc…AND i'm a neighbor of yer friend..uh oh, i'm entering creepy status now…k…stepping away now…k, byeeee~*

      • Rachel B

        Wha! Who’s this?

  • http://profiles.google.com/eunisaur Eunice Chung

    I feel ya. Currently in the Bay Area right now, but I lived in New York for years. I love SF in that it is sort of microcosm of the necessary hipster scene for the Bay, but it really is limited in what it offers. I feel like SF generates a cookie cutout version of a free-thinking culture rather than actual character. Maybe if SF was bigger and had the opportunity to, I don't know, expand and explore its potential milieu. Perhaps I'm just NY-homesick.

  • NickSF

    The Terrible Truths About Daniel Coffen
    Daniel Coffen  is, alas, not a person. He is an empty, hollow shell of a man whose now having a 40 year old’s midlife crisis. Daniel often finds himself alone wandering late at night past closing time searching for a hot meal, rapid transport, and a necessity to once again feel relevant. For you see, he is kept awake at night yearning for the amazing, freakish glory of his youth that was SF in the 80’s, and, quite obviously, has long since past.
    Did I mention that Daniel was a misanthrope? His apparent distain for all things ‘young ‘uns’ he masquerades with endless pontification concerning the party habits and professions of a generation he can no longer identify with.  You see he is plagued by an inferiority complex.
    He can remember the good old days of 56K modems, coked up yuppie bankers, life before this pesky internet craze, and cell phones that were as heavy and as large as the common masonry’s brick.  Life was simpler back then for him.  A homogenous cultural alphabet soup and he was the stand-alone capital L.
    Don’t get me wrong. There are some things to love about Daniel. His fascination with the sky and ocean, elements in this world that don’t judge and exclude him like all his 26 year old coffee pouring, new experience having, and generally fun about life fellow inhabitants apparently do. He also enjoys locally grown produce, meat, and cheese. Sustenance that gets him through day to day until his inevitable demise as a grumpy old man keeled over on the toilet suffering from dependent lividity. Of course by then, all his ‘shit’ will have fallen on deaf ears.
    Ah maybe I’m just an optimist. Maybe I’ve outgrown these malcontents. Thing is I’m happy to be here.  Suddenly, I feel like a native.
     
      
     
     
     

    • Nina

      that was way harsh, tai

    • Greatgirl

      Ugh really? You took time to write this? You're pathetic.

      • NickSF

        I'm guessing it took you longer to read it.

    • Fox

      NickSF is probably a faggot. He takes offense to the word not because he
      actually finds it offensive, but that if he didn't put on the guise of a
      tolerant, in the now young man who twitters every five seconds and
      updates his facebook with random quotes from songs of artists who are overrated and popular to-be-popular, his buddies would disown him as a conformist.
      Ironically, the only thing Nick is tolerant of is his own face value lifestyle full of over thought blurps on socially demeaning websites and his conformity is to a class of “young-ens” who feel the need to act like “young-ens” which is an entirely self defeating existence.
      Therefore, Nick, maybe you should remember that older people were young once (most likely before you) and have what is called hindsight and was much valued by the ancient Greek philosophers (you know, those loser conformists). Maybe if we listen to people who have been in our shoes we can discontinue the fake ass assumption that acting like rebels and dressing like artists is the only way to be real.

      • The opposite of NickSF

        A faggot? Do you understand where you're posting?

      • Fox

        Not China?

      • http://profiles.google.com/mopeyprincess mopey P

        I'm pretty sure you actually mean “17 year old boy in love trying to be all mysterious” instead of NickSF when you are talking about a guy who “updates his facebook with random quotes from songs of artists who are overrated.” It is okay that you do not have any “in the now young man” type friends on facebook. I forgive you.

        NickSF might be young, but he is bitter beyond his years and forgets that he too will turn grouchy and old and miss the way things used to be in his neighborhood one day.

        Calling him a “faggot” and ranting about an entire subculture—that, incidentally, has a healthy self-awareness of how generic and easy-to-stereotype it is—doesn't really call NickSF out on his bullying ad hominem attacks on the author, and does not do much to advance the discussion.

      • NickSF

        Now that’s the first reasonable statement I’ve read Mopey P, thank you for the response.  My reply to Daniel, harsh, perhaps, but when you preface the article of seemingly valid gripes by comparing SF to a filthy village where the moisture mixed with the homeless population dawns a new resurrection of the Bubonic Plague; the legitimacy of such insights thereafter  are rendered moot.  It fails to become an interesting read about his cultural observations and experiences in SF but more so a dedicated position to denigrate the city .  Where the hell does that get anyone anyways?    
        “This city used to be great back in the day, it has changed significantly, now it sucks, and I’m stuck living here”
        That’s no way to live.
        Truth be told I’m living in the same neighborhood I was born in 34 years ago in SF and been many places in-between.  I’ve seen  many changes to the ‘hood in that span but the one thing that has kept me identified with this local as I myself get older – is a sense of humor.

      • http://profiles.google.com/mopeyprincess mopey P

        NickSF I feel like I understand where you're coming from a little better now.

        I think its good you love your city, and the filthy village comparison is funny, especially if DC is from New York, which is definitely one giant conglomeration of filthy villages. And full of rats.

        Your original comment did come off kinda harsh, especially because it read more like you were targeting him for his age, and less his I-moved-to-SF-before-the-yuppies/plague attitude. Humor is good but sometimes you can lose your point. (Although I will admit that I do love making fun of the middle aged NYTimes/farmer's market/kale-loving set as much as the next 26 year old….)

      • Reallyyyydude

        lol

      • NickSF

        LOL -thanks for the clarification that older people were young once – I was wondering where they came from. Are you purporting they were here before me? Now that's some insightful shit! If you could do us all a favor and wear a helmet so when you feel intellectually inhibited to the point  where you need to use the term faggot – we’ll know it’s a knee-jerk response to your own unavoidable retarded condition.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mutosheep Marcus Brownlee

        Leave it to a stupid, socialist scumbag to claim that using a word appropriately is “intellectually inhibited,” whereas trying to bully others into not using words that you have inappropriately coupled with an emotional response is actually enlightened.

    • http://twitter.com/luxoj Luxurious Josh

      You're not a native, go back to where ever it is you came from and give the real natives back their city.

      • Reallyyyydude

        If the US gives back Yelamu, they have to give back everything. I see that happening asap.

      • NickSF

        Yeah, I wouldn't get too concerned tho' dude – that certificate of authenticity from the Frankiln Mint strictly stipulates  you, Josh, and Fox can retain possession of your commemorative NASCAR plates. Lord knows it would be embarrassing to have to go back to those Dixie paper kind when the fam’ arrives  for bologna mayo sandwiches and inbreeding.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mutosheep Marcus Brownlee

        That was really intellectual of you. NASCAR and inbreeding. You are the paramount of creative superiority. Try making some of your own insults instead of just regurgitating crap from Comedy Central. Pop another pill, hypocrite, and slide back into the crawl space in your grandma’s house before you gain the false courage to say some crap like that to a man in the real world, because he would rip your colon out through your mouth and kick your head to China where impovrished children will play games with it because their parents are dead because of socialist faggots like you.

      • Nmartsf

        OMG you are too hilarious! I was wondering where the
        inspiration came for that Military Surplus Store character from Falling Down. I
        know anything that appears to be pro San Francisco, must be liberal, which must
        be socialist, and we are all Nazi’s right? Sorry the spokesman for you
        blithering idiot, bat-shit crazy philosophy, Glen Beck, got booted off the air
        but I guess there’s only so much stupidity even the Republicans at Fox News
        will put up with.  As for my colon being
        ripped from my mouth, that would actually be doing me a huge favor. It would extricate
        you from my asshole, while your all up in it with a giant magnifying glass looking
        for non-existent kernels of socialist poo. 
        Do us all a favor at your next Klan meeting, try not to spill to much
        moonshine on your sheet there and catch yourself on fire during the cross
        burning. Jeter and the toothless gang would have to piss on you to put you out
        and that would break our fuckin’ hearts!

      • twirly

        That is sooo provincial and hickish. I’m sure Daniel is laughing at you! SF is a city, which means there are people from everywhere. And the only “natives” are the Native Americans.

      • twirly

        That is sooo provincial and hickish. I’m sure Daniel is laughing at you! SF is a city, which means there are people from everywhere. And the only “natives” are the Native Americans.

    • xra

      oh i get it cause hes old

    • Waterhouse

      Daniel must be on to something if he's provoking absurd personal attacks like this. 

      Nick: how about you try refuting some of his claims?  We've all read Vice Magazine.

      • NickSF

        The only thing Dan is on to is his next cup of coffee, organic piece of cheese, and hopefully his new prescription for Prozac. Do you really need me to refute his claim that SF is a fetid village where the moisture and the homeless population are breeding the Bubonic Plague to satisfy your sense of appropriate public discourse?!  When you preface an article with claims like this the article ceases to become a collection of poignant observations but one man’s diatribe of crotchety complaints and geriatric grievances.  Look, I’m sorry he’s stuck in a self-proclaimed filthy village filled with detestable people and things.  That’s gotta suck! But, until he can extricate himself from the premises, if he could do the rest of us a favor and stay outta the way.  I don’t know, perhaps take up refuge with Oscar in his can, we’re trying to enjoy ourselves over here.

    • Marvin Beauchamps

      Oh man, you are such a queer NickSF. You truly are a native.

  • http://twitter.com/MissKimball misskimball

    what is kale?

  • Guest

    Good article Coffeen.

  • Lynn

    As a 26 year-old who lives in SF, I see what a lot of what you're saying. Glad I'm not the only one who is annoyed by the lack of eye contact here. Can't a girl smile at someone in the street without it being weird?!

    • http://profiles.google.com/mopeyprincess mopey P

      So like, I've only been to SF a few times visiting a couple weeks, but I thought it was friendlier than where I live (NYC). I actually made nonsexual friends with random people going out/at a bar, like exchanged phone numbers, hung out again a few times again later.

      Also I was struck by how friendly the girls in the line for the bathroom at this one bar were! That's usually when you see raging bitchface in full effect bc everyone wants to pee or get mirrorspace, but everyone was nice. Maybe I just have had good luck there?

  • http://twitter.com/DougLain Douglas Lain

    Seems like San Francisco is experiencing the same Disneyification as the rest of America, and of course the problem isn't the youth but the overall economy.  Still, there is this nostalgia for a youth that is rebellious, that is looking for a way out of the current order.  It's not even a nostalgia for our time, Daniel, but nostalgia for our parents generation.  The 20 somethings now don't have the same relationship to the 60s as we do.  The memory of that failed revolt is even dimmer.  
    The only solution is to find a way to act.

    • Daniel Coffeen

      Ah, Mr. Lain, I think my nostalgia, if I have any, is for my 26 year old self — which was when SF rent was cheap and apartments were readily available anywhere and everywhere. I just don't want to work so much. The Disneyification is actually a demand for increased labor to pay for the all the gloss and condos and vegan donuts (yum!).

      And, for me, rebellion exists in day to day life, in embracing multiplicity, complexity, in generosity towards the great teem of it all. When I read my own post, I see all the ambivalence — am I condemning the city? Or myself? Do I love 26 year olds or not? Do I love all the coffee and kale or not? But look at the comments and everyone is so serious. 

      What's missing in SF is shtick — no one's got one and when they see it, they don't get it.

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