When I lived in SF from 2009-2010 I hated it. That's a strong word, hate, but it accurately sums up how I felt. Friends would tell me that my chosen location at the corner of 16th/Mission was a big reason why, as this was a well-known corridor for drug dealing or at least crazy-acting in the plaza above BART.
But my apartment wasn't the issue. Given that Helen and I had just decided to get a divorce, I would have been unhappy anywhere on earth. At least in SF I had the chance to walk home after work, which I did many times. I also nursed my love of fancy coffee shops, making a gradual shift in loyalties from Ritual to Four Barrel as the year ground on. And I tried fruitlessly to pick up women in bars, and maintained my disgust at the mindless conformity that marks SF's supposedly daring political culture. As the year's lease grew close to merciful release, I met Pi Wen and moved back to the sunnier and more congenial East Bay.
The rest is history.
Now we often venture to the city together. For example, today we'll be at Ft. Mason, the Fillmore Jazz Festival, and then a friend's potluck holiday barbeque. Later this month we'll be back at Ft. Mason for a "Forks and Corks" event that pairs Sonoma County wines with food from SF food trucks. It's all very yuppie and all quite pleasant. Even as I retain my belief that SF politics are ridiculous, these days I find myself focusing on the city's beauty and charms.
What a difference a new life makes.