Miserable San Franciscans.



Lombard Street
Originally uploaded by Sutanto.

Yesterday, the NY Times reported about enraged San Franciscans who are taking out their anger against the parking meter attendants who issue tickets to illegal cars. It seems that the city of the Golden Gate is full of simmering hatreds, ironically directed at the lowly paid proletariat who throw fines against BMW’s and Hummers in a city with a shortage of places to park:

San Franciscans have been shocked in recent months by crimes related to finding places to park, including an attack in September in which a young man was killed trying to defend a spot he had found.

More recently, the victims have been parking control officers — do not call them meter maids — who suffered four attacks in late November, and two officers went to a hospital.

Over all, 2006 was a dangerous year for those hardy souls handing out tickets here, with 28 attacks, up from 17 in 2005.

All of which has left officials in this otherwise civilized community scrambling to explain, and solve, “parking rage.”

Why is it that such a lovely city, a place of golden sunsets and bridges, full of delightful little cafes, charming boutiques and skinny, young people who slouch over laptops all day… be such an unhappy town?

You hear it in the mad cries against globalism, in the passionate support for the self-destructive peoples of the world (the Palestinians, the Sunnis, the Homeless, the Communists), in the angry rants against LA. Arguably, there is a need for at least one small corner of indifferent America where the educated argue and blog about the international causes which we are mostly deaf to. But why is such a priveleged city so sour?

Today I went to LA’s “The Grove” shopping center. I observed, as usual, so many happy, healthy, good looking people. The reputation of LA, and especially of the artifical main street, automatically leads to a conclusion that LA sucks, that we don’t have a real city. Why then, do people seem to enjoy life on their day off in LA in the sunshine, with their friends and family? Los Angeles just doesn’t seem to revel in being miserable and pissed off, despite the fact that traffic and daily violence are obscenely present.

Perhaps the ascension of Nancy Pelosi, to the Speaker of the House, may “centralize” and normalize the national impression of S.F. Yet, I know as soon as someone from San Francisco reads this, I will get a load of negative comments.

I know I would be angry if I just came in from a jog around the Presidio and was sipping some wine in my Pacific Heights apartment.

3 thoughts on “Miserable San Franciscans.

  1. Some lunatics attacking city workers does not equate to “San Francisco is an unhappy town,” as I think you know…

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  2. You’ll get no negative comments about this from me. This post reminds me of something my politically conservative uncle once said about his “good little liberal” (i.e., his daughter), who was living in San Francisco at the time. After she’d complained to him about the homeless people who thought nothing of defecating on her front steps, she went on to say, “This city needs a Giuliani.”

    San Francisco sounds a lot like Portland, actually. For starters, you’ve got the the passive-aggressive anger (e.g., people who push past you on the bus and in Whole Foods in lieu of a simple “Excuse me”; the Powell’s Books employees who act like they can’t be bothered with your questions).

    Then you’ve got the LA bashing (natch). I love how people here will diss LA’s “car culture” before getting in their vehicle and driving away. (People here just LOVE to pay lip service to mass transit, mind you — but actually using it is another story.)

    Re the progressives’ “mad cries against globalism,” another favorite pastime of certain Portlanders is bad-mouthing Starbucks. Doesn’t really help explain, then, why the chain is so darn popular here.

    Why then, do people seem to enjoy life on their day off in LA in the sunshine, with their friends and family? Los Angeles just doesn’t seem to revel in being miserable and pissed off, despite the fact that traffic and daily violence are obscenely present.

    Sounds a lot like NYC. 😉 I must say that, on the whole, I felt a much stronger camaraderie with New Yorkers than I do with most Portlanders.

    On a different note, I visited the Grove about ten days before Christmas. I liked it well enough but liked the nearby Farmers Market even more. I have a feeling I’ll be back again soon.

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