15 Things I'd Miss
A few days ago, I happened across David Leibovitz's article entitled "15 Things I'd Miss About Paris If I Moved Away." It inspired me to think about what I would miss about the Bay area if I moved away.
1. The Bridges. Many people here think of the bridges across the bay as a nuisance to be avoided if possible. I don't. I love crossing them, admiring them, photographing them. Even the Erector Set ™ of the Richmond bridge is stunning in certain lights.
2. The Beauty. It staggers me every day. The land, the hills juxtaposed against the always-changing water. Never boring and always inspirational.
3. The Bay. The water, the opportunities for recreation, the light reflected from it. In it, on it, whatever.
4. My Beloved - he might not move. He LOVES this area and even becomes slightly defensive if anyone criticizes it.
5. The Produce - I can get good meats anywhere, and seafood in many places, but the veggies...
6. My Neighbors - I figure my friends would visit me, but maybe not my neighbors. They are an important part of life here and I would miss knowing their day-to-days.
7. Mount Tam. Visible from my kitchen window, it seems almost sacred to me. I'm not at all religious, but there are places in nature that touch the spiritual side of my nature. Mount Tamalpais is one of those.
8. Diversity. One of the first and best things I noticed about the bay area is the wonderful diversity here. In Rochester, "diversity" meant either black or white, with a sprinkling of Asian. Here, it means every possible color, creed, food and culture, all living in relative harmony and mutual tolerance and reading quietly on the BART. I love the variety.
9. Openmindedness/Acceptance of difference. I have seen people being panhandled in San Francisco and looking annoyed, until a policeman started hassling the panhandler, whereupon the panhandlee started defending the beggar. "He's not hurting anyone. Let him be." It's a small example but a powerful one to me of how accepting people here are of individual lifestyle choices. Laissez-faire is the watchword here, and I enjoy that.
10. Dungeness Crab. I have enjoyed Alaska's king crabs and the east coast's blue crabs but none can compare with Dungeness crab. And it's crab season again! Hooray!
11. The Hills. Walking the hills of this area has strengthened my legs and my wind. I also like that they lift me up high enough to get lovely vistas to enjoy after all that exercise. And, from the hills themselves are beautiful. I have learned to drive competently on hills here, another small triumph. I'm a fan of hills.
12. The Absence of Bugs and Humidity. Even living as we do close to the water, the humidity level is rarely oppressive. It can be hot in the sun but as soon as you reach shade, it's cool again. Lovely. No one except perhaps an entomologist loves insects and even entomologists don't necessarily want to live with them. We only have screens on our bedroom windows - for the most part, the few insects that fly in to the rest of the house just fly back out after they have spent a little time circling.
13. The Plunge. Our municipal swimming pool is as close to ideal as it's possible to have. Solar heated and saline cleaned, it's warm, huge and inviting. Those folks in the early 1920s really knew how to build a community resource and I'm proud that my generation paid to have it renovated and improved.
14. The San Francisco Chronicle. For all it's quirky reporting (the headline often implies the opposite of what the body of the article says), I love the green and pink sections, the goofy stories they find, the columnists and editorials. It may not be world class but it's homey and it's ours. I love hearing the early morning thump that signals its arrival on our doorstep, unfolding the big pages, reading the comics and Dear Abby first, then tackling the hard news of the day. The Chronicle is struggling now, like so much of print journalism - I hope it survives.
One of the good things about moving every two years in the Navy was the realization that each place has its pluses and minuses - and no place is perfect. Newfoundland, for example, has a rugged, grudging climate, but also breathcatching natural beauty. Japan's ancient culture is as amazing and refined as its benjo ditches are smelly. Hawaii's beauty is unsurpassed in the world, but it is insect heaven.
Thinking about this gave me a fine appreciation for the everyday pleasures of living here. It's an interesting exercise to do wherever you live, and whether or not you actually like the place where you are living.
15. I'll leave the 15th open for you to tell me what you'd miss most about California (or your current location) if you moved away.