An apology

Dear San Francisco:

I am writing to you because I have come to realize that I owe you an apology.

While I have spent the last four years living in the bay area, the majority of that time I spent living down in the Silicon Valley. While living there, I think we both know that I said some pretty mean things about you, but before I start begging for forgiveness let me take a moment to explain.

Coming from the south bay, where the sun is always shining and the temperatures can be nearly 30 degrees warmer, it was always frustrating to leave that climate to come up to visit when I would always need to pack warm clothes, especially in the summer months when the rest of the country is experiencing those warm summer nights. Throughout the past year, however, I realized that these weather patterns are very relative. When you live in this climate all year, it’s actually quite comforting and the number of sunny days are much more frequent than what a visitor might experience.

I also remember coming up and being frequently harassed by your overly aggressive homeless population. I think this can be attributed in large part to the places that I visited when I would come to visit — especially those work conferences at The Hilton near the Tenderloin.

Parking and navigating the city was also a challenge and was quite frustrating at times. Even though the city is “laid out in a grid,” the diagonal cut by Market street was always very confusing and I specifically remember a number of times where taking a left was damn near impossible. Fortunately a lot of that has changed and I have become more familiar with the routes and parking spots around the city. It took a bit of time, but I have come to appreciate your crooked streets and go-with-the-flow traffic style, similar to Boston.

Lastly, I always felt public transportation was a bitch. It still is.

All that aside, however, there are some amazing things that you don’t get to really experience unless you live here. The lifestyle and culture of the various neighborhoods, the wacky events and festivities held each year, the welcoming sight of a hillside full of candlelit windows as you come home from work, the incredibly friendly people, and the laid-back style that is San Francisco.

I must say that I do feel pretty terrible about some of the things I said about you, but I’ve realized just how great of a city you really are — and i could actually see myself spending many years (if not the rest of my life) living here.

So Thank You, San Francisco, for giving me a second chance to get to know the real you and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

Forever and Always,

brandon

The dangers of Alcohol

On the eve of before Californians are set to go to the polls to vote on the history ballot initiative  that will decide whether or not adults over the age of 21 should legally be allowed to  consume and grow marijuana within the states borders, I came across this interesting article on webMD discussing the dangers of alcohol. The exact title of the article is “Experts: Alcohol more harmful than crack or heroin.”

As someone who recently become a teetotaler for health reasons, I found this study particularly interesting. It’s found that abusing alcohol is almost 3 times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco. It makes me wonder why we allow a drug as dangerous as alcohol to be consumed without judgement, yet other much less dangerous substances are demonized.

I was actually thinking about alcohol a lot this past weekend, as I ventured out to various halloween-related events and parties. Take Friday night, for example. I was at the Independent to see Lotus in San Francisco and during the set break a group of girls standing next to me were completely hammered. So much so, in fact, that one of the girls fell over and passed out on the floor. It took 3 of her friends to carry her out of the club and,  I assume, left with her to take her home. That girl was done for the night.. and not only that, she was probably so hung over the next day that she didn’t get to do much on Saturday either.

I’m not saying that I condone the use of Marijuana, however, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a similar experience from someone smoking weed. I just don’t quite understand why there is such a double-standard when it comes to the health of Americans. If the government was really concerned about the health of its citizens, it’d not only take a look at the alcohol consumption in this country, but also at the food that it allows its citizens to consume.

That said, I’ll be curious to see what happens tomorrow and will be excited to see how people vote on this groundbreaking piece of legislation.