Let’s start with introductions. My name is Susie. I am 24 years old, and as I type this I am exactly one week into a sinfully indulgent three-week vacation. (WOO!) This time off is acting as an usher between two different living situations: I just left my six-month home in the San Francisco Bay Area, and am soon going to be moving North to Portland, OR.
I should probably take this opportunity to offer a very important public service announcement: SAN FRANCISCO SUCKS.
It doesn’t suck for everyone, apparently, as evidenced by the fact that over seven million people currently reside in the Bay Area with (presumably) no immediate plans to jump ship... but I truly wish I could lift the wool from the eyes of these residents, shake them by the shoulders and say, “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!” Because they must surely be in some kind of blissfully ignorant stupor if they think that this way of life is a.) normal, and b.) acceptable.
I have honestly tried to look at it objectively. I’ve said to myself, truly, maybe there are some people who just plain don’t mind commuting an hour to and from work in traffic every day. Perhaps they enjoy the alone time, stare at the break lights, crank up the tunes and feel fine about it. Maybe living in a city where the average rent is more than triple that of the rest of the country (seriously though, look it up) just isn’t that big of a deal to them. Maybe paying more for gas, groceries, transportation, movie tickets, etc… maybe all that is something they are able to look past, in the grander scheme of living in a city they love.
And I can see why people love it. I got wrapped up in the romance of it myself, before I moved here. It was San Francisco! (You know, like, THE San Francisco!) From the movies! And Full House! I was going to live in the same city that had set the scene for so many blockbusters, and inspired so many musicians, from Otis Redding to Tony Bennett… I was going to cartwheel across the Golden Gate, protest with hippies at Hate & Ashbury, and become one of those local underground music scene people. I would ride the BART to work in heels and a skirt. I was going to become a city girl, fast-talking and brusque, à la Mila Kunis in ‘Friends with Benefits.’ I tell you, the things I envisioned in the weeks leading up to the move were straight out of a rom-com montage.
But then the actual move happened. And reality did what it does best… that is to say, took all my fantasies and expectations, rolled them up into a little ball, and smashed them repeatedly with a meat cleaver. In my early college days, I was the epitomic Struggling College Student, working only 16 hours a week at minimum wage and eating uncooked Top Ramen two meals a day… and even then, my bank account never reached the dismal levels I have seen in the last few months. (I broke my own personal record a few weeks in, when I actually took a screen shot of my account balance: $0.11. I was still in blissful denial at that point, and laughed it off… joking that I couldn’t even afford to buy a song on iTunes. Ha, ha. It became less funny a few weeks later, when that record was broken again with a balance of negative $4.71… And, as night follows day, subsequent overdraft fees… which aren’t exactly a step in the right direction)
Add that to the two hours I spent sitting in traffic every day, the bug-infested apartment that was costing me double my parents’ mortgage, and a social life so bleak that my only human interaction outside of work was an ongoing group chat with my high school friends back home… and you could say I jumped at the first opportunity to get the heck out of Dodge.
And so, here I am, on the brink of another (hopefully more successful) adventure, about to move to Portland, OR.