San Francisco, I Think I’m Over You

4 min read

I’m kind of back to not liking living in San Francisco.

Part of my disenchantment is probably my fault. I arrived here with big dreams I’ve yet to see realized. For one, I thought I’d fall into a good group of friends. Instead, someone I considered a good friend ghosted on me. Though I have made a few good friends whom I am grateful for, they’re from disparate circles. My social life is unrecognizable to me.

I also thought I might finally meet someone I can see a future with or at the very least someone whose company I’d enjoy more than Netflix and chillin’ solo.  After all, they say San Francisco is one of the best US cities for singles. I don’t know if they actually talked to anyone who lives here because while I know many single people of different genders and sexual orientations whom are lovely, lovable people, they are not in a relationship, and most are actively searching.

After three years of living in San Francisco, I think it may be time to call it quits. Read more from "San Francisco, I Think I'm Over You" at The Girl Next Door is Black

This chart doesn’t specify the sexual orientation of said singles. | source

I suppose if they mean this a great place to for singles if you want to remain single, that makes sense. Dating mostly takes place on apps here, at the expense, in my opinion, of people sharpening their in-person social skills. You can take your Tinders, Bagels, soul connections, rings and dings or whatever the hells and put ’em somewhere not on my phone.

After three years of living in San Francisco, I think it may be time to call it quits. Read more from "San Francisco, I Think I'm Over You" at The Girl Next Door is Black

A common sight in SF| source

Then there’s work. Of the two full-time jobs I’ve had here, one left me feeling useless, the other gave me my first anxiety attack. I barely want anything to do with the tech industry at this point.

When reality doesn’t live up to your high hopes, an emotional crash isn’t all that surprising.

There’s also the fact that everything here is so.damn.expensive. I think I must blackout when I pay my rent every month. That’s the only way I can understand how I continue to pay more than some people’s mortgage.

Of the people: I don’t get the seemingly dominant personality of passivity in this city. Just last week, I was at the drugstore in my favorite aisle – the candy aisle – when I noticed a woman walking toward me. As she neared me, she paused and started rummaging through her purse. I know she was faking. She walked with purpose down that aisle until she saw me. Now, I’m not very wide and I’m generally aware of the space around me, so it’s not like I was completely blocking her path. I’m not one of those oblivious aisle-blocking asshats.

A simple “excuse me” would have sufficed to get me to scoot the inch or two more needed for her clear passage. Instead, this lady acted like she had an urgent need to reapply lipstick or find a tampon. Who knows?

I could have moved preemptively, but I’ve done this dance before. I’ve been in many an aisle in this city and had this same scene go down. What is the deal with people? Is it timidity? Are they afraid to make contact with an unfamiliar human being? Politeness is appreciated, but there is such a thing as being so polite you make people want to scream.

The woman continued to dig in her purse – finding nothing because she was looking for nothing – until I finally inched forward, making sure to sigh heavily and roll my eyes at the absurdity of it all (hi, petty). There I was minding my business, trying to determine which pack of Sour Patch Kids would be the freshest, and here comes Timid Tammy ruining the experience with her fish spine.

After three years of living in San Francisco, I think it may be time to call it quits. Read more from "San Francisco, I Think I'm Over You" at The Girl Next Door is BlackI’ve also had people here give me that “Oh my” pearl-clutching glance because I dared speak up about something.

On the bus one afternoon, after a particularly tiresome string of hours at the day job, a budding-grey-haired woman with a folding shopping cart packed with several large black plastic bags, decided to throw a tantrum as she exited. She’d situated herself right by the door, so she only needed to make it a few feet to the steps. Each and every step she took came with a cranky grunt and dramatic muttering.

A minute later, she’d only progressed a few inches, so a kind man offered to help her the rest of the way.

“Noooo!” she shouted, mimicking the Wicked Witch of the West, “I don’t need YOUR HELP!” If she’d carried a cane, here is where she’d have shaken it at him with menace.

The defeated man backed away like a kicked puppy.

Around me, other passengers looked toward the rear window to see if another bus was coming. Nope.

A couple more minutes ticked by. The shopping cart and it’s pusher had yet to reach the steps.

Is NO ONE going to say anything? This is fucking ridiculous. This woman is holding up a bus full of people with lives because of her pride and stubbornness. Not even a peep from the bus driver – whose arm she threatened to bite off. She didn’t actually say that, but the quickness with which he recoiled like she’d hissed at him, indicated as such.

I couldn’t take anymore.

“Get off the bus!” I hollered.

A young woman across the way turned toward me with a furrowed brow. Oh stop clutching your damn pearls!

“Yeah, get off already!” the bus driver repeated, regaining his voice.

Soon other passengers chanted, some quieter than others, as the woman grumbled her way down the steps.

A few passengers clapped and whistled once the last of her landed on the sidewalk.

I hadn’t meant to start an uprising on the bus; I just wanted us to get moving. But, I bet you those people felt good taking control of their lives. We endure a lot of bizarre and sometimes frustrating encounters on these city buses.

Lastly, but most importantly, there’s the race thing. To put it bluntly: being black in San Francisco is existentially exhausting and socially isolating like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I’ve written about that on multiple occasions, so I won’t rehash it here.

With all of that said, I do not regret moving here. It’s still one of the best decisions I’ve made. My life now is incredibly different from the life I lived in Los Angeles. If I felt stalled in L.A. and wanted to push past the stagnancy by trying a new city, I got what I asked for and more. I’ve evolved in ways I never imagined. I believe moving here was a necessary step for my personal, emotional and career growth.

Barring some freak joyful miracle, my time in San Francisco is nearing its end. I had hoped this might be a place I could stay put for a long while, but I want to get out before I am driven completely mad. I also fear becoming one of the passive. That works fine for some people, but it gives me the itchees.

There’s only one US city next on the list. I’m not quite ready to reveal it yet as I’m still planning. I will say that it’s not happening this year, but if you’re a regular reader, you can probably guess which one it is.

October will mark 3 years here. I think I gave it a good shot.

After three years of living in San Francisco, I think it may be time to call it quits. Read more from "San Francisco, I Think I'm Over You" at The Girl Next Door is Black

Have you ever lived in a place you didn’t like? Also, if you are a passive aisle-passer, tell me why please, I’m curious. 

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42 Comments
  • go-indochine
    October 31, 2016

    Nice experience. Very inspired for a travel blogger like me. I thing i’ve loved SF to because of your article. Tks for making this.

  • Trisha Galimore
    May 5, 2016

    Nice! Hope the move goes well! 😀 Make sure to blog about your adventures in NY, too! ;D

  • Markita S.
    April 11, 2016

    Happy to hear this! I just saw your last post today about depression and seriously hoped you were getting out of SF…I bet this will be a great change for you!!!

  • Renea D.
    April 11, 2016

    I did not know that SF was so afraid of black people. If I couldn’t walk down the isle a black person was standing in, I wouldn’t be able to leave my house in Montgomery, AL. I would like to see one of them move here. They would literally become agoraphobic! But we do have that passivity here that makes me want to scream.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      April 11, 2016

      Haha! I really think it comes from the influx of people who come to SF from cities where there are few black people. They don’t know how to act bc their idea of black people is informed by media, which…ugh.

    • Renea D.
      April 11, 2016

      I think of it as a cosmopolitan city… which would mean diversity to me. I have been there twice, but again, as a tourist, so not like living there.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      April 12, 2016

      It’s a small, big city. It’s an interesting dynamic. I actually do like the city, but it’s not for me to live in.

  • Raymanda F.
    April 11, 2016

    Funny you should write this, my daughter just applied to transfer…. She did not like SF, to segregated….. such a shame….

  • Jessica H.
    April 11, 2016

    That’s so cool!! I always admire people who pack up and move to NYC. It’s one of my favorite places to visit and I sometimes crave it but never felt i had what it takes to live there.

  • hbksloss
    February 26, 2016

    Places I have lived in and never felt at home in: St. Louis, MO, Washington, DC, Northern NJ, Vienna, Austria (although to be fair, I was pregnant and we moved there in the winter), most subburbs. I am a city gal (who loves spending time in the country). We recently moved to downtown San Jose. It isn’t a real city yet, but it is trying. And it sure as heck beats the subburbs! SF looks like it might be fun but it is too expensive and too cold for me.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      February 27, 2016

      I used to live in the San Jose area years ago. It has changed a lot since I lived there!

      Throughout my first year in SF I’d complain about the weather frequently. I’d just come from sunny L.A. and it always seemed to be cold here. But, between annual rising temps and general adjustment, I’ve gotten used to it. It’s kind of nice actually. There are some things I like about living here. 😉

  • Lynne at The Sweet Midlife
    November 7, 2015

    I am so sorry that you are going through that. It is hard to find a “place” in a new place. When I lived in Miami in the early 90s it was the same. I only had like 1 friend for awhile. When I was a new mom living in a new city, Annapolis, 20 years later, I felt like I was dating again in my quest to find mom friends. It is exhausting. Praying that the new place you go will bring with it all the good stuff. And I love your blog. LOVE.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      November 15, 2015

      Finding new friends is a lot like dating. At least you don’t have to narrow your friends down to one choice, though! Hehe.

      Thanks, Lynne; I really appreciate your sweet message!

  • Raymanda
    September 30, 2015

    Oh

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      September 30, 2015

      It’s okay. It’s life. SF is still a wonderful city, just maybe not for me to live in. 🙂

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      September 30, 2015

      Yeah. I’m sure she’ll continue to love it. I think if I were in my 20s, or even my early early ’30s, I’d feel differently. College here would be amazing, I bet.

    • Raymanda
      September 30, 2015

      My daughter is loving it. But that is campus life

    • Raymanda
      September 30, 2015

      So agree with you…

  • KC Johnson
    September 30, 2015

    Evolving is good! 🙂

  • Christopher
    September 29, 2015

    Chicago? NYC? Houston?

  • Patricia @ Grab a Plate
    September 26, 2015

    Great post! I love (visiting) SF and had a tentative plan to move there prior to Phoenix (16 years ago)! I can’t believe how $$$ rent is there. My nephew lives there and splits rent w/ a roommate. Not sure how people can live w/out roommates?! Loved your line, “Timid Tammy ruining the experience with her fish spine.” People are so odd!! Anyway, good luck with your remaining days there!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      September 30, 2015

      I’m sure your money goes a lot farther in Phoenix than in SF!

      It’s possible to live here solo if you work in an industry that pays well – like tech. It also depends on where you want to live. A lot of younger people prefer the trendy neighborhoods like The Mission which is even pricier and as such quite a few in their 20s tend to have roommates (sometimes 3 or 4!). My days of living in a pseudo-sorority house are behind me. 😉

      Thanks for your comment, Patricia!

  • Jarret Ruminski
    September 24, 2015

    You know what I find to be the most fascinating aspect of your aisle-passing experience? How exactly do you determine the freshness of a pack of Sour Patch Kids?! Anyways, nice to have you back.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      September 30, 2015

      Haha, don’t laugh (or fine, you can), but I Googled it after ending up with too many subpar packages. The bulk packages tend to be hit or miss for some reason. But, if you the movie theatre size they tend to be fresher, same with the mini packs. Of course the ones you find in real candy stores that sell in bulk, are the absolute best.

      I could write a whole post analyzing Sour Patch Kids. 🙂

  • Markita
    September 24, 2015

    Wow…this post is so ridiculously on point right now! I just moved here (in San Jose) a few months ago. I’m still trying to make the best of it but my husband is sooo over it and I’m trying not to be over it. Like you said, I don’t regret the choice, but there are lot of things that are leaving me unimpressed.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      September 25, 2015

      San Jose? You have my sympathy. 😉 I lived there for a year and REEEEEEALY didn’t like it. It seemed like a fine place for families and a quiet suburban life, which is not for me. What really got to me though is how disjointed the city felt to me – like it has no personality or soul (no offense to those who call it home).

      I hope that you and your husband grow to enjoy it more, but if not, the good thing about the Bay Area is there are so many options for places to live (provided one can afford it!).

  • K'lee L.
    September 23, 2015

    First, I just found you and your great blog in one of those random ways we…find each others blogs! This is a great post and one that speaks so much to me as I contemplate finally spreading the old wings for higher ground. San Francisco will always be a great city for me, filled with lots of ups and downs.I can’t picture another city in the U.S. I’d want to live, but it’s definitely time to begin the search.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      September 25, 2015

      San Francisco is a great city despite my complaints. There’s much to like about it – I’ve even adjusted to the cooler weather. But, it’s just not for me.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  • Heidi
    September 23, 2015

    Time to move to Europe. 😉

  • samdfb1
    September 22, 2015

    Nice post. It does sound like you gave San Fran the old ‘college try’- I hope the new place pretty much rocks your world-am waiting for the big reveal of your new location-destination. London is pretty expensive too-a cup of coffee at Starbucks is akin to a mani or pedi so I choose wisely (or try to anyway). Good luck on your next adventure/move to a new city!

  • siriusbizinus
    September 22, 2015

    I’m happy to see you back from your break!

    To answer your last question, I’ll give a quick, “Excuse me,” or, “Pardon,” to people who are in my way. I’m not a small person, so I suppose that helps too. Occasionally I will get dirty looks from people who assumed I could have squeezed past without muttering the offensive social nicety.

    Quite honestly, I’m surprised that people are that passive in a city the size of San Francisco. How does anyone shop for necessary items if the aisles are filled with passive types too afraid to use social graces?

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      September 25, 2015

      You know that’s a good question. I just kind of assume passive people speak the same language – one I just don’t understand. Politeness to the point of immobility. Hehe

      Of course, I’m generalizing and even thought it’s a small city, not all neighborhoods are the same. 🙂

  • Jennifer Kennedy
    September 22, 2015

    Love love love this post. Found you through the BLM Tuesday Blog Post post. Glad I did! 🙂

    I was actually recently talking to a friend who lives in SF. (I’m down in Long Beach.) I couldn’t believe how expensive that place was!! She was telling me that she was in a rent controlled place so it wasn’t as high for her.

    I’ve actually considered living there, too. But, after talking to her and reading this — I’m pretty happy with spending a few weeks there out of the year! Ha.

    Oh..and the lady in the aisle…I was cracking up when I was reading that. Ha. I feel like that’s people everywhere though! That happens all of the time down here. I think I need to make a “How to be a Human Being” e-course.

    Thanks for the read. Really enjoyed it.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      September 23, 2015

      Ah, I envy the rents in Long Beach! I have rent control too, which helps prevent my rent from being raised astronomically – because I bet if they could they would. Rents go up exponentially each year; it’s ridiculous.

      I fully support the creation of a “How to be a Human Being” e-course. Lesson 4: How to effectively say “excuse me” if someone is in your way.

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’m glad you found me!

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