I bought my feelings in San Francisco. I also had to surrender my Aveda creme cleanser to the enforcers of arbitrary, imprecise, and bureaucratic travel rules at SFO. Actually, it was an old Asian TSA officer, so I was cordial.
But really, I did go a bit overboard with the shopping. An open agenda and no companion meant I was left to follow my natural direction…to the mall. I’ve been to SF several times before – seen the GGB, the Presidio, the Embarcadero – I’m never one for tourist spots or waiting in line.
What’s funny is, I don’t feel like I missed much. I still ate at interesting places and did a lot of walking. Took the Sausalito ferry. Caught some fire truck action. And, I got to spend time in stores we don’t have in Florida. I actually did what I like. So what was my haul? I’LL TELL YOU… Barney’s – Stockton Street & O’Farrell Street – worked with Storm and Dale in men’s contemporary (5th floor), and Nilson in the cellar for fragrance. Byredo Oud Immortel parfum (fresher and more citrusy than Tom Ford Oud Wood, finishes warm);
Gant Rugger linen-crepe button-down (crisp colors against a soft, slim-fit linen blend); and a Balenciaga multi-wrap bracelet with black muted studs (no justification necessary).
Neiman Marcus – Stockton Street & Geary Street – worked with John in men’s (basement floor). AG Adriano Goldschmied protege sueded new navy jeans (extremely soft, slight stretch); and
a Prada woven leather belt (have had this on my list for a while, inexpensive in comparison to other brands). In the vicinity of these two stores are a bunch of other novel stores, like Goyard, Emporio Armani, and AllSaints. *Something to keep in mind when shopping in San Francisco: the city passed a ban on plastic checkout bags, and all other shopping bags are subject to a $0.10 fee. I had to ask for bags at even the nicest of stores…
Can I just like, shop for a living? I’ve already mapped out my favorite spots! Between spending too much and dropping trou in chic dressing rooms, I did see family…
And I saw a small fire in a laundromat near where I stayed…
San Francisco has always been in my top five destinations. It is progressive, educated, and sophisticated, and has breathtaking views that other cities cannot replicate. And, it has a global cultural draw that reverberates into many parts of history, media, LGBT life, food…etc. Sister Act and its sequel were films I grew up on, portraying at least one of the histories of the area – of Spanish (and therefore Catholic) colonialism and 20th century poverty in ethnic neighborhoods.
And now, HBO airs Looking, about gay men in the city. The cast represents a new San Francisco, filled with service workers, techies, and artists. It touches on the varied social groups that now make up the city – of high-wage young geeks, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking immigrants, Asians, and aging LGBT pioneers.
It is, however, not perfect. The mass transit system is less robust than the Metro in New York, and topographical challenges make parts of the city nearly inaccessible other than by car. Though, several car- and ride-share options around the city make that less critical.
If you go or have been, you’ll notice immediately that there’s a serious homelessness problem, which begets a host of secondary issues, like drug use and social services. Which are all messy and expensive to society. Would I move there? See: What $2,100/month can rent you around San Francisco, via Curbed SF. There is a housing shortage in the city, forcing rents higher, which eliminates affordability for low-income legacy residents and young professionals (techies excluded). That would include me as a new transplant, making it harder to find a place than to find a job. How is that for backward? But, I have strong family ties in the area (aka a support network), and I’ve found the pace of life to be much more in line with my own desires for balance. Plus, copious fresh juice bars, and clean eating in general!?!? Sold! But would I rather visit often and live somewhere less intense? Such existential questions we face.
The trip was a comfortable blend of leisure and labor. For the first time, maybe ever, I felt like I could be alone with my thoughts, doing whatever felt just right. If only everyday life was like that. If you have a chance to visit, I highly suggest the spring time. A pleasant chill and a fair possibility of sunny skies will greet you.