My friend Daphne posted on fcbk recently about The State of Things in San Francisco, ending with the question “How do we go home somewhere else?” And, well, this is what I had to say.
(Also: I go back on fcbk for a couple hours to do some bizness & I actually find something I care about? Whodathunk?)
Prefacing this by saying that my perspective on all of this is fairly unique, because I am one of those increasingly rare birds who actually grew up & came of age in San Francisco. I was born & raised in what was then working-class South Bay suburbia, lived in my Nana’s house &/or in various shitty rentals with my folks till I was 8, and then my dad got a job “in the city!” and we moved to the Lakeview/Ingleside in 1991. My parents bought their house, which they are still in & still paying the mortgage on, at a time when working-class and lower-middle-class people could actually afford to buy houses in SF. Which I am sure sounds absolutely ABSURD to anyone who isn’t from here, but, well, that used to be a thing that happened here.
Any way. I’m still here, and as long as I can hold out & stay, I am holding out & staying. This is home for me for many reasons, most of which have to do with history, family of origin (as complicated & estranged as some of those relationships are for me now), and queer and pervert and sex worker family of choice. And even staring down the very frightening barrel of unemployment in a rapidly-gentrifying city right now: I am hard-pressed to leave. I have spent a lot of time over this last year grieving what San Francisco has become. And. I still have a lot of hope — maybe it’s stupid, maybe it’s stubborn, but for whatever it’s worth, it’s there — in what San Francisco once was, in the places where it is STILL amazing and generous and lovely (because there are still pockets of good here), and in what SF still has the potential & possibility to be.
And quite frankly: I don’t feel like I *CAN* go home somewhere else. I mean, sure, yeah, I could move somewhere else, but nowhere else would make my heart sing like this place does. As much as I’m bitter & ragey about what SF has become, leaving would be abandoning the life here that I have worked very, very hard to build, would be waving a white flag & admitting defeat. And I’m just not ready to let the fucking aristocracy win.
See also: I am blessed with cheap rent & RENT CONTROL. If I didn’t have the magically cheap apartment that I have right now, there is just no way in hell that I’d be able to stay. I live with fairly low-grade but also fairly constant anxiety about getting evicted at some point down the line, which is no fun. But again: As long as I can hold out, I’m holding out.