This Lovely City of Mine


Oh, hello lovelies. Hope all is well with you. Today I thought I’d share with you a little bit more about why I love this beeyoootiful city. Every day I look around and am so thankful to be experiencing such a wonderful place. I am a small town girl at heart so being in a city always has its challenges, but for some reason those difficulties seem easier and more manageable here than in New York. Before I moved, I didn’t know what to expect. People were constantly saying the West Coast is a different world, but I was like, how different can it really be? Answer: kinda sorta subtly different in the weirdest and most charming ways.

1. People here are recycling fanatics. It is EVERYWHERE. Don’t get me wrong–I’m totally down for contributing to the green movement. I grew up recycling things at home (except when I was too lazy and threw glass jars in the garbage and Dad would yell at me for putting them in there, but anyway) and I tried to keep up the effort in college, too. By recycling I mean throwing plastic bottles into a separate bag and taking them to Wegman’s in exchange for $3 off my next alcohol purchase.

I’m not sure I could get away with that here. This city takes recycling verrrry seriously. There are huge separate bins at my apartment for disposal: trash and recycling. If you throw your recycling in the trash bin (or vice versa), beware that you will be found and forced to dig it out and put it in the correct bin. The apartment also came with a compost container. Ours had breeding flies in it, so of course I wanted to throw it out. Nope, not allowed. According to my roommate, every apartment HAS to have a compost container, even if you don’t use it. Even work has separate containers for recycling, compost, and trash. Discerning which object goes into which bin is a daily source of anxiety for me, even with the little diagrams above each and especially when my object isn’t listed on any of the diagrams. FYI fact: paper towels ALWAYS go into the compost bin. (I know this because there is a sign in the bathroom.)
img_6181-copySan Franciscans also have extreme prejudice against shopping bags. Whether it’s paper or plastic, they are on a mission to eliminate any sort of bag that isn’t reusable from the earth. Bags are virtually extinct, so don’t think that you can just use any old bag lying around as a garbage liner for your room or to carry your shoes to work. Not going to happen. You should also be prepared to feel like you are the sole person responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer every time you go shopping because every salesperson will ask you if you want a bag. And then charge you 10 cents per bag. Effective tactic, I must say, but still. Rachael’s not in Kansas New York anymore.

2. A little less noticeable but still a rampant trend is the use of the word “hella.” As in, that’s hella cool. Why the hella anyone would want to use this word as an adjective is beyond me. But I’m told it’s just a California thing. I mean, I can’t really judge when I come from a place that uses “wicked” in the same way. Nevertheless, I solemnly vow I will never use the word “hella” in a sentence. Outloud, at least, because I just used it four times in this paragraph. Help me.

3. One of my favorite and most distinct differences between here and New York is Stranger Talks (my personal phrase, of course). At first I thought people were just super friendly, which they are. But they take friendly to a whole new level. Perfect strangers will carry on a conversation so genial and animated that you will think they’ve known each other for years until they wave goodbye and you hear them say, “Nice to meet you!” I’m sorry, what? This happens everywhere: the subway, in line at the store, on the beach. Most of the convos I’ve witnessed have been on the subway. It’s pretty cool, but a little surprising if you’re from New York and antisocial like me. BUT I am proud to say that I had my first Stranger Talk a couple weeks ago and it was perfectly pleasant. Then we went on our merry ways.
anigif_enhanced-buzz-19286-1355341528-64. I mentioned this before on Twitter, but there are a lot of people here that are legit crazy and incredibly interactive. The crazy people in New York have nothing on the crazies here. Morning, noon, and night, people are talking to themselves or trying to engage others in their craziness. You can see how this interferes a bit with Stranger Talks. Sometimes Strangers end up being Crazies, so you have to be careful. Usually the Crazies are easy to identify though. They roam the sidewalks and public transportation, forcing their crazy on everyone (like the time a man became so upset with the person driving the train *for no reason* that he started yelling and punching the walls. He then ran up to the front of the train, kicked in the door to the driver’s seat, and shattered the glass before running away, resulting in everyone having to exit the train. I had to walk about 15 blocks home and of course ended up engaged in another Stranger Talk). Most of them are harmless, but many are seriously unstable, which is really, really sad.

Naked Man in San Francisco Subway Alternates Between Fighting People and Doing Gymnastics

5. The city is known for its fog, so it’s no wonder that the fog has taken on a personality of its own in the form of Karl the Fog. Karl is absolutely hilarious and a great photographer. If you move here, this is the first Instagram account you need to follow because it’s just what you do. For your enjoyment, here is a taste of Karl in his natural element.

karl“You can’t tell from this photo, but I’m currently devouring the entire western half of San Francisco. I’ve been gone for a week and have worked up quite the appetite. I’m making my way east, but until then, I’ll just photobomb your landscapes. #fog #fogstagram #fogaholics #photobomb #bay #sanfrancisco”
karl2“I tend to take a lot of selfies from a distance (mostly because I’m miles long and can reach around anywhere I want) so I thought I’d change things up and give you an idea of what it’s like to be me soaring through the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. How does it feel to hover this high? F***ing amazing. #fog #fogaholics #fogstagram #ggb #sanfrancisco”
karl3“Dreadful conditions at Sutro Baths today. Avoid at all costs.”

Is anyone ready to visit yet? : ) xo.


Author: Rachael

Book lover + editor, feminist, California soul + New York state of mind.

3 thoughts on “This Lovely City of Mine

  1. Enjoyed, Sounds like yo are leaving your heart in San Francisco. Love you, Gramma

  2. Rachael…I can definitely relate to the crazies! Toronto is full of them and I encounter them everywhere. On the subway, on my way home from the subway, at the grocery store, in my building (unfortunately). I saw one guy muttering to himself then he proceeded to cross the train tracks and the train was arriving in one minute. Then he struggled to climb up onto the platform. He’s lucky someone helped him up in time! *sigh*

  3. Pingback: I Woke Up Like This |

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