I, like so many other naive college grads, thought it would be a good idea to leave my quaint little college town and tackle the excitement of San Francisco. And, like so many other naive college grads, I didn't last long, lost most of my money, and left feeling bitter and let down by the City by the Bay...
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about places and everyone has different experiences about cities, but my experience of San Francisco was so negative and so painful that I will gladly never set foot in that city again. To start with, unless you are in high tech or any other booming, high paying field, making ends meet is difficult. Even with the high minimum wage I was barely breaking even. And I was living in squalor. For so many (hipsters) living in squalor is cool, but for me it was just difficult and unpleasant. I paid $800 a month to live in the Sunset with loud neighbors and terrible fog. The buses were always late and almost always packed to the brim. I could barely breathe during my 40 minute commute to work. The kind of customers I served at my restaurant made me lose faith in humanity. When I worked up Arcata I got nothing but smiles, hellos and good tips. In San Francisco, supposedly a friendly liberal city, I was lucky if one in five people would tip (and I'm a friendly and good waiter). People were openly rude and would call me derogatory names to my face. Nowhere else have I encountered such snobbery, such self-righteousness than from the patrons at my cafe. But nothing compares to the sheer self-absorption, narcissism of my fellow 20 somethings. So often people were more interested in being hip and cool than being friendly or nice. It's all about being up with the latest trends, the latest bands, the latest iThing. I never had a genuine conversation with anyone. They were more interested in showing off how cultured and unique they were. To put it bluntly, San Francisco is a city for the privileged. There are other cities that are for the privileged, but San Francisco's privileged aren't aware that they are privileged. They assume that they are somehow saving the world or at the forefront of some movement.
The only pro I can think of is the gay-friendly attitude. As a gay man, I genuinely felt I could be myself and be open about my sexuality. But that wasn't enough to make me stay. Words cannot express how happy I am to be gone from this place. Anyone else has the right to disagree with me and that's fine. If you love San Francisco, all the more for you. But for me I needed a more down-to-earth, less stuck-up vibe.