Why I hate SAN FRANCISCO

Yesterday I had an appointment with my Pilates instructor Jesse Singer, she runs SF Pilates on Market Street, spitting distance from Powell, where the world-famous cable cars originate, in the buzzing heart of the City, throbbing with freezing tourists, dead-eyed wage slaves, S&M slaves and their masters, masters of the universe barons of business, mumbling junkies, designer mothers with designer babies, beggars, borrowers, and thieves, high-end fashion models and lowlife hustlers, pseudo-Christian ranters and street dancing juveniles trying to become the next Michael Jackson, while the cable cars clang clang clang. I live in Marin, 24 minutes from this spot if I drive my Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster. My appointment is at 1 p.m.. If I drove in my car the journey might take an hour, and I knew for a fact that there would be nowhere to park and that didn’t cost a lot of money. Plus I love driving my Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster, and I feel it’s one tiny contribution I can make to this earth, to drive a vehicle that uses so much less fossil fuel, emits so much less toxic shit, takes so much less room to park. I grew up on the cusp of a generation who took those things quite seriously. Making the world a better place, thinking globally and acting locally and respecting the mother of us all: Earth. So it was a total no-brainer. I drove my 75 miles-to-the-gallon Harley to my one o’clock Pilates session with the lovely and talented Jesse Singer at SF Pilates.

Sadly, I was unaware that the City of San Francisco had declared war on her own citizens in such a sick, militaristic, police state way. I did not fully understand the City of San Francisco was now in the business of shaking down the very people who make it what it is. But her before I get to that, another reason I hate San Francisco is that as soon as you approach the Golden Gate Bridge, as breathtaking as it is, the temperature drops at least 15°. And when you’re on a motorcycle, that really sucks. Plus, people are so self obsessed that they pool are round in these enormous vehicles and don’t seem to be aware that there are other people driving on the roads with them. Many people in San Francisco seem to be under the mistaken impression that they’re shit doesn’t stink. And this certainly is evidenced by the way they we cruise willy-nilly in their vehicles, committing blatant acts of turn signal neglect and stop sign abuse. As I was slaloming along Lombard Ave., I found some space in the right lane, trying to beat the ridiculous traffic light pattern that makes it virtually impossible to go from one end of Lombard to the other without being stopped a half a dozen times by red lights, and I was making good time. Without any warning, a soccer mommish SUV with a very put together MILF yammering away on her Blackberry, decided to turn right from the middle lane. Thank God I have developed a system for handling these kind of situations on a motorcycle. I always operate under the basic assumption that everyone who is driving anywhere near me is trying to kill me. It’s kind of like I’m in my own action movie, I’m a hunted renegade and some evil government villains rife with greed and corruption are trying to have me assassinated. It’s a fun way to do something constructive about the very real danger inherent in driving a motorcycle. So I had already sized up the soccer mom and her SUV, already imagining her swerving into me, taking a shot at me with her state-of-the-art semiautomatic weapon, complete with its own silencer. So I am completely prepared for her unconscious attempt to kill me, and I jam on my brakes in plenty of time not to die.

So I make my way down to Market and Powell in plenty of time. I cruise around the neighborhood. I don’t want to park in the seedy groin of the Tenderloin, where crackheads, psychopaths, and other maniac lunatics who would love nothing more than to steal my Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster linger and loiter. So after cruising around the neighborhood, I park up on the sidewalk very unobtrusively, parallel to the street, next to a parking meter. I was very very careful not to block the sidewalk in any way. The same way I’ve been parking in San Francisco for years. I was always under the assumption that we had an understanding, the City of San Francisco and me. Yes, there is a parking epidemic, that’s obvious, we both acknowledged that, so we work together. If I can find a place to park my motorcycle where I’m not getting in anyone’s way, where I’m being respectful to others, I am allowed to park there. Because honestly, if everyone drove a motorcycle, or a moped, or scooter, around the Bay Area, it would be so much better for everyone in the smallest and the biggest of ways. So I locked up my Harley, and I went and had a fabulous Pilates session with Jess him e Singer of SF Pilates.

Try to imagine if you can the shock and horror I felt when I returned to my innocent with Harley, looking sad and abused and violated, with a parking ticket issued by the City of San Francisco sticking out of her. Imagine my rage when I discovered the City of San Francisco, who I thought was my friend and ally and partner, was extorting me for $100. $100. $100. To park, minding my own business, not hurting another soul. So that’s what it’s come to. A city full of millionaires run by fascist bastards extorting their own people, sucking their citizens dry run.

And that’s why I hate San Francisco.

About David Sterry

David Henry Sterry is the author of 16 books, a performer, muckraker, educator, book editor, activist, and book doctor. His first memoir, Chicken, was an international bestseller, and has been translated into 10 languages. “As laconic as Dashiell Hammett, as viscerally hallucinogenic as Hunter S Thompson. Sex, violence, drugs, love, hate, and great writing, what more could you ask for?” – The Irish Times.
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