The trip ends today. I return to San Francisco.
I wonder what my apartment looks like. I cannot remember which locks my keys open. I fear the great emptiness of time and space after unpacking.
I left San Francisco quite weary three months ago. The city’s cost of living ran away with the tech boom. Surrounded by density, I could not get away from people. Crime lurked around every corner. Was San Francisco worth the trouble?
I ran away for perspective. I interviewed other cities.
Except for rent, many US cities are just as expensive as San Francisco. Four-dollar coffee and six-dollar beers percolate everywhere, whether in Yellow Springs, OH or Lawrence, KS. San Francisco living can be made more affordable if I cook for myself, seek out bargains, and learn that I need less.
The ghost towns of Missoula, MT and Lincoln, NE teach that I crave density. Intersecting people challenge and create. No people, no life. The fortified suburbs shelter a slow, anonymous death.
Crime still remains a sticky-wicket as San Francisco is indeed more dangerous than Salt Lake or even New York City. Two of my bicycles and four of my bicycle seats have been stolen. I fear losing more. In Yellow Springs, neglected things slowly decay, not walk away. I do not want to treat crime as San Francisco’s unavoidable evil, but I do want to be afraid of others.
I’m coming back to San Francisco for the people. I am coming back for the crazies, the jokers, the artists, the cooks, the muralists, the hills, the views, the sun, and this incomparable life on the edge of the world.
Yes, she is worth it.