the freaks of san francisco

An old friend came to visit me this weekend. ::bounce::bounce:: She’s one of those people who i see as exceptionally similar to me. Overeducated, always thinking about issues of privilege, activist, queer, etc. We both came from the hippie-esque world of the coops.

Anyhow, we spent a few hours wandering around the Mission and it was such an eye-opener. She was so viscerally aware of the elements of CITY and of San Francisco in particular. She’s living in a town that looks like something Disney would create. She’s not blonde, not rich, not a prep, not a surfer; she’s an outright freak there. But she’s there because she’s kicking ass on the international activist scene and that’s where she needs to be right now. But talking to her made me really reflect on how much i value San Francisco.

I’m not a freak here. No matter what i wear, i will run into someone with a crazier outfit. And it doesn’t matter anyhow. My sexuality is also not a big deal. It is so strange to be in an environment where the straight folks are more tolerant of queerness than the gay folks. But again, no big deal. Whenever i want to meet new interesting people, it’s possible. In fact, there are so many intriguing people that i want to get to know, but just haven’t because of time restrictions on my part. I can see art events whenever i want; i can go dancing whenever i want. There are cool bookstores and clothing shops and street life.

I just received a note from a 15 year old somewhere in “WASP suburbia.” She wrote to tell me about how she’s tormented by kids at school, about how the administration does nothing to help, about how valuable the Internet was for finding people like her. I totally get where she’s at. When i was living elsewhere, i always felt so out of place and relied on technology to meet people more like me. But the funny thing about San Francisco is that i’m finally in a place where there are more intellectual freaks/geeks in everyday life than i ever found online.

I just had two different friends leave SF because they *hated* it. I still haven’t been able to squelch my immediate visceral response: how do i like you??? is there something about you that i don’t know about yet? ::laugh:: But seeing my beloved city through a friend’s eyes was so refreshing. I am so thankful for living here. For having 85 degree days in March. For having so many freaks, geeks, and queers that i can just be me and stop trying to exacerbate or repress my identity for others.

It’s funny because people have pointed out that i rarely write about personal identity struggles anymore. I used to write long rants about them. At first, i thought maybe it’s because my blog went a bit off the professional deep end. But then i realized that it’s because i’m actually doing AOK with who i am these days. Seeing my friend and hearing from a youth in suburbia is a clear reminder of how lucky i am. And for that i am very thankful on this Spring Solstice Eve.

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7 thoughts on “the freaks of san francisco

  1. Harsha

    You probably hate Austin after the whole purse stealing incident but it’s not a bad place to live at either. I mean it’s no SF but it’s definitely the second best place to live at 🙂

    -The Freaks of Austin

  2. Liz

    Thats great! I love to see people go balls out for their city. I love Philly. Check me out on Orkut, I wanna be one of your* friends! 🙂

  3. Devon Fowler

    I like you already just from hearing your true self, your openness, and the truth that which you speak of. I am one of those people constrained to find the ‘cool’ people online alas I’m in cold Boston not hip San Fran. I’m a transhumanist and am open in every way I would love to talk to you on stupid Orkut I’m addicted which is pathetic since i agree with all of your comments pertaining to the social networking fad

  4. devon fowler

    Hi I tried posting a reply but nothing happened. I’ll try again. I feel your angst regarding Orkut and social hierarchy networks in general. it’s about the level of junior high with the popularity contest and all…I really appreciated your insite into your wonderful life in hip SAn Fran, I’m in snobbey and cold Boston where people still behave like meat heads, or “massholes” to use the politically correct phrase! Please check me out on god damn Orkut I am not friens with Leonie! dfowler

  5. mike

    I applaud you for making a comment on a city, and at the same time owning your feeling about it.

    I have *such* a hard time when I hear people make sweeping generalizations about the ‘personality’ of cities like SF, NY, and Boston, and don’t admit that it is *their* own personal reaction, not some heavy handed ‘scientific’ observation.

    I once spent over an hour with someone in LA who spewed absolute nonsense about why SF is awful, and that the people there are SO (insert any sort of stereotyping phrases)….only to find out in the end that it was more about him getting dumped by a long-term girlfriend there.

    So thanks for not making judgements, and instead making it clear that you are stating your personal feelings, and telling why.

    p.s. not all people from Boston behave badly, and by no means does Boston have a monopoly on ‘meat heads’. If you live in the Mission like I do, you can see meatheads careening by in a drunken trolley car every weekend…and yet, I don’t think that SF is full of meatheads. Fascinating, isn’t it ? 🙂

  6. zephoria

    Yeah – finding a city is a lot about finding your own personality. There are parts that match and parts that don’t. For example, while i love SF to bits, i’m still taken aback by some features… like the cultural acceptance of flakiness. That’s new to me. And i’m not used to the slower pace. But still, it’s a city that really works for me. And Boston definitely wasn’t; i became an evil ogre there.

  7. David Fono

    I am prone to wonder whether there is any other North American haven for freaks and geeks; or if those who do not find their way to SF, eventually, are doomed to a life of repression and misery. California does, in most ways, seem to be another country/continent.

    It’s chilling to apprehend that one day, some day, you might be somewhere that makes you happy, but it’s going to a few years… more. At least.

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