I’m not from San Francisco and neither are you

I'm not from San Francisco and neither are you

There was a rather poignant article written by Ramona Emerson recently wherein she sums up why people who live in San Francisco (note, not San Franciscans) move to NYC:

Because San Franciscans are perpetually from somewhere else, they are stuck referencing said place (Eugene, Lincoln, Whidbey Island) in response to origin questions for the entirety of their term in SF. So that they actually have to move somewhere else in order to finally be able to say, “I’m from San Francisco.” In other words, the only way to become a San Franciscan is to move to New York.

Ramona is moving to NYC and there is no end of truth in what she says. San Francisco is full of transplants. I’m one and I freely admit it although I’m from about 2.5 hours away in greater Northern California. When I moved in to San Francisco proper after college, I gave up having a car, accepted having neighbors on a three dimensional axis as well as having every event/cause by a “gay” event/cause. People from other parts of the country, specifically from the Mid-West don’t really feel any need to change as really and adapt once they move to SF as they move en masse with others from their home region to have a support group to talk about parking tickets with I suppose.

But this city (really, more of a town given that the population is only 850,000) is moribund with transience. I’ve lived here for nearly a decade and in all that time I’ve met two people who were born and still live in San Francisco. Two. Everyone else seems to be from everywhere else and due to this disconnected association it’s hard to really get any kind of permanence to anything. People who don’t like something either become the most vocal minority you’ve ever heard or just deal with said vocal minorities assuming that they’re not going to spend the rest of their lives here. Thus, the longish-term population of San Francisco has become vocal minorities.

I’ve never been to New York City and shortly I’ll be rectifying this. Not only am I curious to see what NYC is like, but I’m curious to see what a vibrant US city looks like that has a permanent population. I’ve seen it in Europe in many cities, but I have yet to see it in the US. Of course living my life in California hasn’t made this easy as even if you’re a third generation resident (as I am) your family is ultimately from somewhere else and rather recently at that.

I think that at some point people just need to be honest about their roots. While my stating that I’m from Oroville is pointless given that no one knows where it is, I will always admit to being from California. For those of who move if, you try to claim San Francisco-ness, be warned, I know your accent and will call you out. Have some pride in being from say, Indiana as really, you’re not from San Francisco but then, neither am I.

One Reply to “I’m not from San Francisco and neither are you”

  1. “Not only am I curious to see what NYC is like, but I’m curious to see what a vibrant US city looks like that has a permanent population.”

    Are you kidding? NYC is full of transplants as well.

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