10 San Francisco Things Did (Not) Do

San Francisco how I hated to leave you last summer, but did for some very good reasons. I spent my most formative years living in a handful of flats around the city, ate some of the best food of my life and walked more miles just for fun then I ever thought possible. Leaving wasn't an easy decision, but I'm at least satisfied that I met most of my check list and especially chuffed that one "goal" is unmet and will remain so for the rest of my life.

1. Participated in a Political March.
This, I have to admit, is the biggest thing I miss about living in San Francisco. Flyers would go up a week or two in advance and we’d take the train downtown and march, chant and otherwise be righteously pissed off about either the 2000 presidential coronation, the impending Iraq Quagmire or whatever the outrage du jour happened to be. Since moving back to L.A. I’ve only taken part in one Planned Parenthood demonstration and I feel bad to have missed other major marches, but the traffic out here, it’s really bad.

2. Walked Across the Golden Gate Bridge.
And froze my ass off.

3. Ate at an Organic Vegan Restaurant.
OK, I admit, Herbivore (the Valencia Street location) wasn’t hard core, but everything was organic (when possible) and there were no animal related products on the menu. I can’t remember what I used to order, but I did have it the night before I gave birth. I believe that was the last time I ate there.

4. Smoked Pot.
At times I worked up to two jobs at the same time during college so it wasn’t my pot I smoked. I just didn’t have the money for much besides rent, food and mascara. Plus, I usually had a lot of homework to do and, as I wasn’t the best student, I knew partaking in a few tokes would just make me look even dumber. The few (as in two or three times) I did, it really didn’t do anything for me. It was more my roommate’s thing and after she ate my entire bag of Pepperidge Farm Sausalito cookies (a extravagant treat for me as they weren’t on sale and I could of used the money to buy something nutritious) I soured on the whole pot thing. And the roommate.

5. Jaywalked with Wild Abandon.
Crossing against the light and in the middle of the block is almost an official right in San Francisco. After a while it became an ingrained habit. Once the kid came around, I had to curb my jaywalking because I didn't want to risk getting bawled out by some self-righteous ex-hippie about my lack of parenting sense.

6. Got Fat at the Dot.Com Boom Trough.

Oh, those were disgusting delusional days! I had a new (writing!) job about every six months and my salary went up and up. When I walked into Neiman Marcus and slapped down about $200 for a jar of Crème de la Mer, I knew I’d reached the my peak of obnoxiousness. By the time I cycled through my last dot.com job, I was more than ready to leave it all behind. My whole department (editorial!) was eliminated on the same day and I came prepared with those party poppers which we set off after we cleared our desks out. We signed away our rights to sue and collected paperwork for our severance and extended benefits and then took ourselves off for a nice lunch at the Ritz Carlton’s Dinning Room to celebrate our unemployment. Those were good times, man.

7. Shopped at Rainbow Grocery.

After calling around for refrigerated flax seed oil, I found that Rainbow was the only place to get it. Why I wanted refrigerated flax seed oil is an entirely different story.

8. Dabbled in Alternative Therapies.
My sister once had a roommate who was a modern day dippy hippy. That chick did everything short of, well, nothing. When you have a colonic party and have friends over to, uh, give each other colonics, it makes you pretty hard core. (Which I’m not—about anything.) I did Reike, where the practitioner moved his hands over my body (which was fully clothed and under a sheet) to unblock emotional dams. It was very relaxing until it wasn’t. Before that it was Rolfing, a super manhandling, non-lubricated massage that was supposed to align muscles, tendons and so forth. Lastly, I used to visit a nice Chinese acupuncturist on Mission Street for allergies, but I did decline to purchase the not nice tasting tea because popping a pill just seemed that much easier.

9. Embraced Alternatives Lifestyles.
Coming from a modest working class and repressed background, I learned to go with the flow in S.F. I became more liberal, vocal and vocal about my liberalism because of my years there. All sorts of things became normal to me. People smoking pot on their front stoops, families with two daddies or mommies, the aggressive expressions of individuality through piercing (yawn) and tattooing (double yawn) and a person’s right to not use deodorant because it went against their beliefs, all in a morning’s walk from my apartment to the train station to go to work.

10. Visited Alcatraz
I had many opportunities to go, but after declining the first time, it became a sort of lame point of pride. Call me lame, but I'm still proud I never went. Yay, me!

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