I am but a prairie lass, born and raised in the gated communities of Oklahoman suburbia, where everyone besides me got a car for their 16th birthday and our motto is “Free parking for all!” Now that I’m living in San Francisco, which is a bigger city, if not the biggest, I get to experience those subtle joys of urban life, the things that make living in the semi-tropical concrete jungle worthwhile.
Take yesterday, for example, when I was riding the MUNI (subway) and reading my NOOK (not as good as a kindle) while heading to the outer sunset (a neighborhood.) After a couple of stops, a rather vocal and drunk man across the aisle decided to direct his conversation to four other passengers scattered about in the car that were reading books, including me. “People used to f-ing talk!” he said. “Now look at them, with their f-ing tweetering and facebook…….(mumble)…there used to be CONVERSATIONS.” I smiled inwardly while staring determinedly at my NOOK. “This is great!” I thought. “City life!” Seconds later the man asked me for a cigarette and shortly after that I hopped off the train and skipped home.
In addition to the characters on public transport, part of city life in San Francisco is getting to watch people watch their dogs take a dump. At any given time in a dog park, 20% of the animals are crapping and 100% percent of their owners either staring in order to know the location of the turds, or pretending to ignore it while mentally mapping Fido’s mess. This bizarre kind of human-animal interaction is something only the urban could have come up with, and it’s just another reason I love living here!
Awkward secondary interactions with strangers are also an integral and precious part of city life. While in line at McDonald’s, a popular local joint, the man in front of me started berating the innocent employee because she had “lied” to him about the cost of honey mustard AND not given it to him. “I’m not here to argue with you!” the man yelled. “I’m here to do business!” After one of the more uncomfortable minutes of my and the employee’s day, the man grabbed his sauce, sat down, and proceeded to eat his gigantic meal alone. This was business.
As if the city couldn’t get any better, yesterday I ran to the ocean (that’s right mom, I was exercising), and stood triumphally on top of a sand dune, having a spiritual moment as the sun sank red into the ocean. After about a minute, a man walked up to the dune on my left and and assumed a characteristic position that indicated he was about to be sick. Ah, nothing like enjoying the sunset with the promise of someone nearby blowing chunks. Unfortunately, I had to leave and could not stay to watch any bile-spewing, but maybe I’ll catch it next time!
Life in the city sure is fun! But seriously, it’s better than the suburbs. I’ll take the vomit and the weird human-animal and human-human interactions any day. The only thing I miss is my parent’s kitchen.