Today, I’m going to write about a little something that has irked me for quite a while now.
When I tell people I meet in San Francisco that I’m from the East Bay, I get one of the following observant reactions:
“Oh! Where? Alameda? Yeah…I don’t know where that is.”
“Wow…that’s, like, really far away.”
“So you’re from Oakland. Do you own a gun/have you ever been shot?”
or my very favorite: the eye roll.
Alright, disdainful sir and/or madame, I’m going to take this opportunity to set a few things straight. Yes, I live in the East Bay.
It’s fine you don’t know where Alameda is. I will enlighten you and tell you that it’s a nice small town and I would like for it to stay that way. I can also guarantee you that it took less time for me to drive or even take public transportation from Alameda than it did for you to cross town in your overpriced Uber. This means that I can always get to work on time, whereas you, will consistently be 15 minutes behind me. I don’t know how this is even possible, but I assure you it is. (I’m sure you have many qualms with the Muni system as I do, but that’s an entirely different subject.) For further reading, I suggest you check out The Bold Italic’s article here. Additionally, unlike many of you San Francisco residents, the “Bridge-and-Tunnel” crowd, as you have so flatteringly dubbed us, have been here before you, and will continue to live here long after you’re gone. It’s safe to say that the majority of San Francisco residents will eventually move away when it’s time to “settle down;” even better, many of you that now scoff at me will end up in or around my town, buying property, and sending your kids to the same schools I went to. Funny how that works.
Now, I’m not here to say that I wouldn’t absolutely love living in San Francisco proper. For reference, I did write this post a few months back. But, it’s something that you get quickly and easily disenchanted with. First off, I can’t seem to justify paying three times what I do in rent for an apartment within a 15 mile radius of the one I currently live in (and love). A friend once wisely told me: why live in the city and go to the resort, when you can live in the resort and go to the city? On an entirely different note, despite its awful reputation, I can say for a fact that I have never seen anyone in Oakland defecate in public. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for San Francisco. Personally, I’ve felt more worried about my personal safety in San Francisco than in Oakland on many an occasion, believe it or not. I won’t disagree that Oakland has quite the questionable reputation, and local media doesn’t do much to help. I spoke to someone recently that was quite convinced that living in Oakland was like living in a war-zone. According to the news, it’s bedlam over here: us shooting at the police, the police shooting at us. If you’ve never been to Oakland for leisure, you would think that the media’s portrayal of us is, hands down, an accurate one. I’m here to say that Oakland is home to some wonderful gems: beautiful neighborhoods, amazing views, fantastic restaurants, and some of my favorite farmer’s markets. Funny thing is, the “across-the-bridge” prejudice often goes both ways. Many people I know are afraid to leave the familiar bubble they live in for the crowded unknown of San Francisco. It’s smelly, it’s loud, people are rude, the driving is scary, it’s so far away…you name it, I’ve heard the excuse. Everyone, please do me a favor and let go of your preconceived ideas of why you need to stay exactly where you are. Stop lumping everyone you meet in one category or another and start taking things at face value. You’ll be all the better for it. I promise.