I grew up in a desert bowl, in the middle of nowhere and just far enough away that you’d never get there by accident. But while you wouldn’t stumble into my hometown, there was a good chance you’d stumble on your way out.
Come let your hair down, the adverts will implore you. What happens here stays here, the city promises coyly; a message that tempts whatever secret desires live buried in your heart. It’s just the right amount of bad.
Every city defines its own rules, it’s own flavor, the scent, the way the streets hum beneath your feet, how the people move within the city, smiling or pushing each other around. You feel it; as a tourist, through a hazy rose lens, trying to experience only the best of everything, while the residents hold keys to the under belly wiring of the city, having gleamed over the years where to park, which restaurants are in fact the hidden gems, and where to go and laugh at tourists on a Friday night.
The lure at it simplest form: What would you do if you could do anything?
The other side of that question is, of course, why does “anything” only mean gambling, drinking, and (well, you know the other one)?
Leaving Las Vegas, I didn’t have any regrets; my shift to California-living was sudden and immediate. It’s been almost ten years now, and only the last year has been in the Bay Area. Moving to San Francisco had been hovering in the back of my mind for a few months, but once I made up my mind, a mere three weeks later, I was settling in for my first night in a tiny apartment in Nobb Hill.
San Francisco is the west-coast mecca for innovative technology, mingled with a fresh vibrant entrepreneurial go-try-it mentality. That spirit of living out your dream, encouraged by stories of proven successes, gets under your skin here. There’s a sense of movement and richness on every corner that you can’t help but seek to be a part of.
Adapting to life in the Bay Area took a little while. Instead of a local bar, I have local restaurants. Rather than loading up at the grocery store on the weekends, I shop for food every other day. When I have errands, they’re spaced out over the week because quite honestly who really wants to feel like a consumer. If it’s a beautiful day, I head for the park and yes, sunbathe.
I have become addicted to boots and tights and really large purses. I carry scarves and extra layers and never ever think about putting away my “winter” clothes. Going to the mall feels like antiquated ritual from my past. I secretly get a guilty-thrill when I hear of a good restaurant that delivers.
I never see fast food restaurants or billboard signs, instead it’s artistic wall murals down alleyways and food trucks. I’ve broken four umbrellas in less than a year and I never would have thought having a Walgreens on every corner could be so useful.
There is always something to do, see or explore, and San Francisco still shimmers with that hint of newness. Perhaps this is the city where I really could do anything.
At the end of the day, home is where my cat is, in a loft in Soma, perched on my boyfriend’s lap and meowing to be fed. #thelittlethings