(I'm not actually leaving San Francisco. I'm just scared I'll miss out and won't be able to contribute to the I'm Leaving San Francisco Letter genre)
I can still remember the day I set foot in San Francisco. The air was aglow and the fog tasted sweet, like simple syrup. Every day I would walk to work from my huge apartment in North Beach that cost $124 a month to my very cool job doing something creative with a lot of cool people who were also cool and unusual. Then we would go to underground dance fashion raves in SOMA before there were offices there or before people called it SOMA until 4 am and then be fine at work the next day because the very spirit of San Francisco would keep you invigorated.
It’s different now, of course; it’s not My San Francisco any more. I guess it started when the Thorvites emerged from the sea and began eating large sections of the Sunset, their gaping, blood-soaked jaws full of pavement and stucco and hapless dog walkers. Of course, incinerating Golden Gate Park with thermite and napalm temporarily halted their shrieking march across the city, but at what cost? The new Golden Gate Parking Lot is convenient but I miss the trees. Am I being selfish, though, I wonder. What makes the old SF any better than the new one?
There were the little changes, things that seemed small but then started to add up. The coffee place down the street, where the owner, Rose still made delicious lattes and served heavenly muffins straight from her own oven, closed suddenly and was replaced by a Physical Form Transmutation Center, another one of those places where you’d go to have your molecular matrix disassembled and transmitted to a pulsar of pure energy. There’s probably one in your neighborhood too. It’s like they’re taking over! They're like the Chase banks of physical transmutation places. And I knew the cobbler shop probably wouldn’t last, but I was more than a little taken aback when it closed and reopened as an Alien Assimilation Center. I know our new overlords are mighty; I guess I didn’t expect them to be so pushy, too!
I sigh and try to remember that change is inevitable. The Mission was an Irish neighborhood once, then Hispanic. Now it’s Biomutant. From “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” to “Oye Como Va” to “Feast on the Skulls of the Screaming Ones, For We Are the Damned of the Night.” All good songs, just different voices. Change. In 30 years, the Biomutants will be the ones getting pushed out, and they’ll probably complain about how the Drillbots have ruined the neighborhood by drilling holes in everything and driving right over the intricate temples of human bones the Biomutants spent so long assembling. “I remember when this was a cool neighborhood, before the Drillbots messed everything up,” they’ll whine, in between bites of a child’s forearm. It’s inevitable.
The last straw was when Gozor and his Reptile Clan won the Battle of Potrero Hill and slaughtered the last of the Golden Cadre. The streets had barely stopped running thick and red with clotted blood when I came home to find a 3-day Notice tacked to my door. Gozor was Ellis Acting me out. A quick look at Craigslist and I knew my time in San Francisco was over. I’d had some pretty sketchy apartments here, but $3000 a month for a muddy Hellpit dug in the sandy soil and covered with a bamboo lattice seemed a little ridiculous. Especially since I also had to share a cooking fire with Jaku the Forgotten One, who honestly did not look like he kept a clean kitchen.