(Tuesday, October 9th, 2012)

5 Reasons I’ll Never Live in San Francisco (but maybe you should)


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For my birthday weekend Cory and I treated ourselves to five days in San Francisco, a city neither of us had visited before but had heard about through friends. We stayed three nights at the fancy Mark Hopkins on Nobb Hill and then two nights at The Argonaut by The Wharf. At the Mark Hopkins we were upgraded to a corner suite because the hotel erred in reserving our room, er, I mean because it was “my birthday.” At The Argonaut we splurged and upgraded ourselves (how could turn back from the life of luxury, right?) So needless to say our accommodations were outstanding. During our short time in San Fran we went to a Giants game, visited the Modern Musuem of Art, made our way through China Town, took a ferry to Alcatraz, strolled through the Golden Gate Park, drove down the infamous Lombard Street, shopped along Haight and Ashbury, took pictures of the Painted Ladies and exhausted ourselves exploring the streets and eating at local restaurants. After five days, the city’s terrain took a toll on our bodies. And while I’ll admit I loved visiting San Francisco there’s no way I could live there. Here’s why:

The Hills
While the infamous hills of San Francisco provide for scenic views of the city, they are not friendly to those of us who use wheelchairs (and also those who might drive stick shift). And I use the term hills loosely. The San Francisco hills are actually more like cliffs, with cars and people clinging to them for survival. Not once while in the city did I see someone using a push wheelchair. That’s probably because they all have ended up in the bay somewhere between Alcatraz and Oakland, the result of losing traction while trying to cross a street. The streets are so steep Cory stood in front of me with his hands out on the way down, just in case I flew out of my chair. If there were just a couple of steep streets like this it may be something to avoid, but the inclines are inescapable and at nearly every street corner, ultimately the reason why only young, fit people live there.

Cory sitting on the Full House stoop.

No Friends
If I lived in San Francisco I would not be allowed to have any friends. Scratch that. If I lived in San Francisco I would never be able to go into any of my friend’s houses, which would cause a huge barrier in our friendship, much distance, and ultimately leave me to lead a lonely life with cats, Riley and Cory. Except for a few new condos, all the housing in San Francisco has stoops. Steps. A staircase. A barrier to prevent me from options. An insolvable problem. And let’s be real, how could I become friends with someone without seeing his/her house? That’s how people end up missing on Dateline.

Too Much Baggage
The weather in San Francisco can be unpredictable. During our stay we experienced a range of climates that included below fifty degrees with chilly gusts of wind to tank top weather. And on one particular day the temperature changed from one to the other within hours. In my purse I was forced to carry a hat, a scarf and an extra jacket. Everyone in San Fran layers up, which clearly is too much work for this Florida girl. I enjoy my days at 75-degrees and donning one outfit per diem.

Cory Fears Bridges
While they make pretty backdrops in photos, driving on bridges gives Cory anxiety. White knuckled and with his hands on 10 and 2, he explained to me while crossing the bridge that he feels like there is no where for him to go if a neighboring car spirals out of control (but down into the ocean). Clearly he has seen too many action movies. Still, since San Francisco is only accessible by bridges I fear his anxiety would eventually become a problem.

San Francisco is a gorgeous city in the case you come across it when the sky is clear and the sun is shining. The city has more parks than downtown LA has homeless people (which is a lot). And every time we thought we had come across the best scenic view of the city, we would turn a corner, see another park and discover the same (but different) beautiful scene all over again. The problem is, from what I’ve gathered, these warm, cloudless days come in few and far between. The other problem is that with so many beautiful parts of San Francisco it would be very difficult to commit to a particular neighborhood. With so much always happening, I’d always feel like I might be missing out on something on the other side of town.

I don’t do cold.

The good news is many of you don’t depend on a wheelchair and so San Francisco may be the city for you. The food, the people and the art certainly make the city worth visiting. Just be prepared for the cost of beauty. While most people claim to have left their hearts in San Francisco, Cory and I agreed we left our wallets. We also agreed it money well spent.

Posted Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 in Random DribbleTags: , , ,

7 Responses to “5 Reasons I’ll Never Live in San Francisco (but maybe you should)”

  1. Thomas Vickers says:

    I liked this blog a lot. When I was a freshman in high school I visited San Fran.
    We were to be there over Easter. It looked like an early spring that year, the night before we left there was hardly any snow left on the ground (this was in Wisconsin). When I went to bed it was chilly but nice.
    The next morning there was six inches of fresh show on the ground and still snowing,
    This trip was going to be my first plane ride.
    We had to travel 30 miles to Wisconsin Rapids (Jeff Schmicks hometown) to catch a plane to Chicago.
    The roads had not been plowed yet, so it was a long 30 miles.
    But we made the plane!
    It was a Beech Craft 99. I will never forget it. Because it was a small plane it could not fly high enough to get above the storm. And we pitched and dropped and thrashed through the storm all the way to Chicago.
    Not proud to say, but on my first plane ride I had to use the sick bag! It was horrible.
    When we got to Chicago I did not want to go any farther. Air travel sucked as far as I was concerned.
    But my mom assured me it would not be like that on the big plane.
    The next flight, and all the way back home were fine. I have never had a worse flight.
    Another thing I won’t forget. We flew a 707. When we were coming in for the landing in San Fran, the Stewardess was panicking we were gonna land it the Bay!
    Not what I wanted to hear on my second flight ever.
    But you described the city perfectly. And the hills!
    My uncle thought it would be fun to make my brother and me walk up Hill Street. He said it was the steepest. Hill in the city..I remember having to lean in half to be able to walk it.
    The weather changed constantly!
    I know this is long, so I will cut this off, but I loved the city. I would love to go back sometime.
    Thanks for bringing back a lot of great memorie. My Uncle passed a number of years ago, I still miss him.
    A fan!
    Tom V

  2. I know how you feel about cold. Brrr, We’re in North Carolina now, having just left Williamsburg, VA. I don’t like weather in the fifties. Too cold for us. The dogs are even shivering!

    We visited SF years ago, when Cory first lived in LA. We stayed in an B&B, and had friends escort us around, but I never thought about the challenges of a wheelchair. Glad that Orlando and Los Angeles are more wheelchair friendly. San Francisco’s loss.

  3. Tom James says:

    Jana, I’m glad you got to see some of our city’s great sites, take in some of its amazing culture and even experience our perfect weather which is never too hot or cold. But in your short stay where you encountered some difficulties you may have missed the very reason why you should move to San Francisco.

    San Francisco is where problems get solved. It’s where creativity is the highest, where education and diversity are most celebrated and where the world is constantly being changed and redefined. In San Francisco the once unthinkable becomes the status quo. San Franciscans thrive on inventing solutions.

    Hills too steep? Come here and put together a team to invent some sort of Segway for chairs. Houses not friendly for the disabled? People here might create realistic virtual meeting places. Weather too variable? Invent a fabric that adjusts. Jana, you would flourish here and create solutions to the problems you discovered.

    • admin says:

      You make a very good point Mr. James. Now I feel narrow-minded, dumb and a product of the give it to me now generation. Thank you. Now I must go take a shower to wash away the ignorance.

  4. Thao says:

    Hahaha. With the bay bridge in San Francisco, when on the lower deck, I would get anxious that the top deck might collapse on me in transit. I also had the fear that if a portion of the bridge were to collapse, I might drive off it, if not mindful. That did not prevent me from utilizing the bridge. I would just cease conversation, turn off the radio and give my full-attention and respect to the road. Add that to your list of bridge paranoia, Cory.

  5. James says:

    Reading your blog, i found a lot of things interesting. I am moving to San Francisco for a job in a few months and was looking for a larger home but it is way expensive and your point about the weather is exactly what i experienced while I was visiting for my interview and it went from hot to cold in a matter of hours and the fog was Amazing but very thick every morning. I had trouble trying to drive through the area outside of the city. The fisherman’s wharf was probably the only aspect of the city i enjoyed. I’m writing to see if anyone can actually tell me some good parts of the city and what are good places to have fun? any suggestions would be great thanks!!!

  6. Nguyen says:

    Oh by the way, San Francisco isnt only accesible by bridge, well maybe after 12 pm. You could of taken the subway (NOT MUNI) called BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_Area_Rapid_Transit Map https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/BARTMapDay.svg
    Its a subway just to get around the bay area, and since theres only 8 stations in San Fran, thats probably why you didnt see if, but the fares are a bit pricey

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