Saturday, April 12, 2003

I hate San Francisco

I taught my Saturday morning class this morning. Only 11 people, which is nice. I decided that next class I'll walk in, get on top of the circle of computer tables and walk to the teaching station. They'll look at my shoes. And then not mention it, and just start teaching. People need to break out of the mold.

Another point, unrelated: I don't like San Francisco. In fact, I don't know why anyone would. I went down there with a friend a couple years ago, because I was thinking of living in San Diego. We spent five days in SF. Five LONG fucking days. First of all, every time I've seen it on TV or a movie, they make it look like a natural paradise. Instead, no matter where I looked, I saw concrete over every inch of hill, land, flat surface. For miles. It goes beyond the horizon. The only exception is that one view on the waterfront, where they've managed to stop building surburbs. Homes in the downtown area have no backyards. The homes may as well be townhouses - there's no space in between them. Their parks are ugly. There's too much graffitti. We took a tour of graffittied, ugly neighbourhoods that the brochure tried to pass off as culture. I went to the Castro area and was entirely unimpressed. It's full of ugly, poorly dressed gay men. We went to a couple gay bars. Bad music. Boring men. I did go to a coffee shop I liked. Cafe Flore. I liked it because... it was full of gay men having fun, talking, and feeling normal. Here, in Vancouver, we've got gay coffee shops and ugly poorly dressed men as well, but there's an intense feeling of homophobia. That's one thing I never felt in San Francisco, is that sickly, dreaded energy of fear that emanates here. If you walk into a gay coffee shop here, in the West End, you feel like you need to take a cold shower, to wash that creepy, ugly energy off of you.

I spent 75% of my time driving on quadruple decked freeways. With nasty, bad drivers. Having to pay expensive tolls. But we listened to a very cool new age radio station while we drove. I did like that.

My gosh, Americans, hello, wake up. Vancouver is everything times ten that San Francisco is. Here, nature overwhelms culture. No matter where you look, you see HUGE mountains dominating our landscape. There's no real estate on them. Our ocean and beaches line every shore, and they all have public access. Here in Canada, you can't own oceanfront. It belongs to the people. You can swim in our oceans without getting a dreaded disease. Our air is fresh - we've got a major air control policy here. Our cars need to be checked for emissions every one or two years. It takes me 45 minutes to go skiing on top of a mountain that is 9,000 feet above sea level. Or, five minutes to go into an ancient cedar forest. Our parks would blow your mind. We have Stanley Park. An ancient cedar forest with moss, ferns, and it's acres, and it's in the middle of our downtown. Our parks tend not to be "artificial." I can bicycle to the University of BC grounds, and mountain bike through the forest of cedars. I can travel 30 minutes to nearly untouched wilderness, and hang my feet into glacier fed waters, while sitting on boulders.

Fuck Castro. What an ugly area. Try the West End. It's a gay community, with more community, than Castro. Yes, people aren't as friendly as in SF, but the West End is beautiful. We have an amazing bay with a gorgeous, unpolluted, non-graffittied beach in the middle of it. And when you look across our bay, there's no concrete. All you see is endless ocean. On a clear day, you can see our beautiful Gulf Islands.

I thought SF might have more culture than Vancouver. I went to the art gallery and museum in SF. Wrong. I saw some half-assed exhibition at both. I've seen better art in Lethbridge, Alberta. More cutting edge, more contemporary, more significant. I went for dinner in SF, expecting better food. Wrong. I can get better food 10 feet away from where I live.

My friend that I went to SF with loved SF. Until I went with her. After our visit together, she agreed with me. There's some kind of marketing scheme going on with SF, that makes people blind to its reality. SF is an ugly, homely city, too much real estate. It's really very sad. I'm sorry that all of you SF-lovers have bought into the marketing. I guess you've never been to Vancouver, so you don't know what beauty is.

San Diego is another topic. It is beautiful. It's almost Vancouver, but with better weather. I loved San Diego. Want to challenge me on this? e-mail me.

PS: I dislike the phrase, "buddy/buddies." It's okay in print (it sounds cute), but trying to say "buddy" verbally, to a real human being feels ridiculous for me. The only endearment I was allowed to say to BC was "You're my buddy." It very nearly made this masculine, bi-sexual man blush, and become silly putty when I said it to him. Forget telling him he is "hot," or "sexy," or "handsome." If I called him a buddy, he got an instant hard on. (10" plus, thick.) What's that about? I like listening to 20 year old girls call one another buddies, or talk about their boyfriends as buddies. I find that cute. But what about nearly 40 year olds calling one another buddies? I think it sounds incredibly immature and non-sexual. It sounds to me like – "you need to grow up, bud."

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