Tag Archives: city

Living Across Town

I work in San Francisco’s number one tourist trap, Pier 39. It’s a cool spot. There are a lot of restaurants and shops, the weather is pretty decent, there are sea lions, and there are tons of things to see and do. The only problem with working there is that I live across town. Living across town is kind of a big deal. When I get out of work, I only have two options: I either go out or I go straight home. I live so far away that I don’t have time to go home and change if I want to go out. It takes me an hour or more to get home via a combination of public transportation and skateboarding, and another hour or so to come back out. It’s not worth it to go home and change, and that means I end up taking my work stuff in my backpack and lugging my skateboard around all night.

There are benefits to living across town. You have to sacrifice a few perks of downtown living, which isn’t hard to do. Living across town generally means that it’s quieter. Parking is more abundant. There is more nature, more parks, and more stuff to do outside. It’s easier to have dogs, cats, or kids. It’s just a bitch to take a cab, Lyft, or Uber home when you live across town. It’s more expensive and the driver is reluctant to take you there. You live on the other side of the city, you can’t blame them for hating you. Your best bet is to share a ride with other people who live across town. Not everyone lives out in the boonies though. Living across town isn’t for everyone.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Your Neighborhood

I lived in the same house in San Francisco for over seven years. I knew everything about the neighborhood. I knew my neighbors, I knew the cashiers at the corner store. I knew the cashiers at the liquor store. I knew the bartenders at the dive bars. I knew which bus lines to take. I knew where to find parking. I had it made. Then I had to move into a new neighborhood in a different district. I had to start all over and I didn’t want to. The new neighborhood didn’t feel right. It wasn’t mine.

Luckily I got a chance to move back to my original neighborhood, about a block away from my first house. I’ve only been moved in for a couple of nights now, but it feels so good to be home. I’m back in my old stomping grounds and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. My first day back I went to the liquor store for a celebratory beer. The cashier remembered me and greeted me with a warm welcome. He shook my hand, asked where I’ve been, where I am now, and why I had to move. People noticed that I was gone and they were glad that I came back. It’s a great feeling to be remembered. I missed my neighborhood and my neighborhood missed me. It made me realize that you’re not just a part of your neighborhood, your neighborhood is a part of you too. Make sure you appreciate it.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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When an Old Friend Visits Your City and Doesn’t Tell You

I woke up this morning and did my usual routine, which of course involves checking Facebook and seeing what the world is up to. I saw my friend’s feed, on which he posted several images of the Golden Gate Bridge and various San Francisco landmarks with a caption reading, “Great weekend in a great city!” I agreed with his caption, but couldn’t help feel slighted because this friend is from another country and doesn’t come out to California too often. He should have told me he was coming. I would have bought him a beer. It’s a shitty feeling when an old friend visits your city and doesn’t tell you. It makes you feel left out and unwanted. And you are. And there’s no way to get back at them, short of going to their city and posting pictures of their landmarks. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ll just stick to writing passive-aggressive blog posts.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Looking For Parking

I live in a city where you don’t need a car to get around. Driving a car in my city becomes a hassle. You have to deal with traffic, street cleaning, vandals, tickets, and looking for parking. Looking for parking is the worst thing about driving in the city. It only takes ten minutes to drive from Point A to Point B, but you’ll spend twenty minutes creeping up and down side streets and alleyways at seven miles per hour trying to find a spot. You finally find a spot and park, and only then will you notice that the curb is painted red and you’re right next to a fire hydrant. Or you can only park there on the second Wednesday of each month. Or you have to have a Residential Permit to park there. So you scream and bash your head into the steering wheel out of frustration and continue on your quest in search of parking. Another twenty minutes go by until you finally give up and pay twenty bucks to park it in a lot somewhere. Fuck that. Next time you’ll just take the bus.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Don’t Step In Any Liquid On City Streets

So you’re going to the city for a night. You get all dressed up and ready for a fun night on the town. But before you go out, let me give you some advice: don’t step in any liquid on city streets. Because it’s probably not water. It’s probably piss. People piss outside all the time. Homeless people, drunk people, and people who just can’t hold it in anymore all treat the city like it’s giant toilet. Yeah, it’s gross. Yeah, it’s disgusting. But that’s how it is and you can’t change it. All you can do is try to avoid stepping into any mysterious puddles or streams on the sidewalk.
Critically Rated at 6/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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My Neighbors Have a Rooster

My neighbors have a rooster. I know that lots of people have neighbors that have a rooster, but I live in a major US city. There should not be any neighbors with roosters in the city. It’s not cool for the bird and it annoys everybody else. I wouldn’t mind if it only crowded once a day when the sun comes up, but that fucking cock crows at least five times an hour until the sun goes down. It was cute and quaint at first, but the novelty of it faded quickly. The worst part is that I don’t know which neighbors own the rooster, so I can’t tell them how much I hate their rooster. Didn’t they learn anything from Babe: Pig in the City? I didn’t see that movie, but I’m pretty sure it backs up my point. Farm animals should stay on the farm and out of the city. Especially loud and annoying ones like roosters.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watching a Tourist Struggle

It’s kind of fun watching a tourist struggle with what you find routine. You know the way around your city because it’s your city. You know the best places to go and the best ways to get there. You know how to get around quickly and efficiently. You know how the city flows and you feel like you are a vital part of it. And tourists stick out. You can spot them from a mile away. They don’t know the unwritten rules of your city. They dress weird, they say the wrong things, they get in the way and cause minor obstructions and traffic jams. They are a virus. They are disruptive. But they are also guests in your city, so you should treat them as such.

Watching struggling tourists isn’t an amusement, it’s a test of your true character. You don’t have to be their friend, but you should definitely help them out and offer them advice and tips and try to make them feel a little welcome. A new place can be overwhelming and a few acts of kindness can go a long way. I try to do what I can. If I see a person anxiously studying a map, I’ll ask them where they are trying to go. The other day I saw a kid trying to get onto the subway but couldn’t figure out how to enter the turnstile. As I walked by I told him to how to swipe it, and the brief look of relief on his face was better than any “thank you” he could have muttered.

It’s fun watching a tourist struggle. It’s more fulfilling to help them out. You have to remember that you like to travel, and travellers are essentially glorified tourists. You don’t want to be treated like a tourist. So don’t treat tourists like they are inferior. Because human rights and all that.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watching Someone Fail at Parking

I live in San Francisco and parking spaces are hard to come by. It’s not uncommon to see two or three cars fighting for a single spot. So you have to be able to park if you’re gonna drive in the city. And if you can’t parallel park then you can’t park at all. You can always spot a tourist based on how long it takes them to park. Watching someone fail at parking would be the ultimate reality show. Each futile attempt becomes increasingly sloppy, and you would see the driver’s frustration rising and exploding into rage. At a certain point it stops being entertainment and you start to feel bad for the driver. It’s like watching a goldfish flopping on the ground next to its tank. You want to plop the little guy back in his bowl, just like you wanna go over and park the car for him. But you have to refrain yourself from helping him. If you can’t park, then you can’t drive, and if you can’t drive you shouldn’t own a fucking car. You shouldn’t help goldfish park, sometimes you just gotta let those fuckers flop around.

Critically Rated at 8/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Walk in the Park

I am lucky enough to live next to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, one of the best parks in the world. It’s bigger than NYC’s Central Park. That means it is better. Popularity and politics aside, if you are lucky enough to live close to a park too, I suggest that you take some time and enjoy a walk in the park. You’ll experience fresh air and sunshine. You’ll see birds and squirrels and trees and flowers and be reminded that Nature is a real thing and not just something you see on the Discovery Channel.

It’s good to be out in open space, standing on grass and dirt rather than concrete and trash. Sometimes you forget about nature when you live in a city. A walk in the park makes you remember that your roots are in caves, not in cubicles. And going outside is free entertainment. Appreciate it and take advantage of it.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Knowing Your Neighbors

I grew up in the suburbs and I lived on a dead end street with about fifteen houses. I knew all my neighbors. I knew all their faces, all their names, and all their pets. We had block parties where the whole street would come out and eat guacamole and socialize. There were a bunch of kids my age and we spent summer nights playing a never-ending game of Kick the Can. After school and before homework, we played roller hockey, baseball, football, and jumped on trampolines until our backs hurt. If mom ran out of eggs making dinner, we would just run across the street and ask to borrow some. Life in the suburbs is awesome. We even knew our mailman by name.

Then I moved out, into the city and into reality. I’ve lived in the same spot for five years now, and I only know one family of neighbors and that’s because we live in the same building. I recognize their faces, but I don’t even know their names. I kind of prefer it that way, I like the mystery. We nod to each other when we see each other. Sometimes we engage in awkward small talk. We have a mutual agreement where they take out the garbage and recycling bins and we take them in. For the most part we don’t bother them, and they don’t bother us.

I don’t know the neighbors that live on the houses next to us. I don’t know the family across the street. And I don’t know why. Even though there’s a lot more people living in the city, sometimes a sense of community is missing. And that’s sad, because sometimes you need an egg and the store is so far away.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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