Fifteen years in San Francisco

Postcard from San Francisco, with cable cars
My grandfather sent me this postcard from San Francisco in 1981.

Fifteen years ago today I arrived in San Francisco. Not for the first time–I’d been here once as a kid on summer vacation–but this time I intended to stay, at least for a little while. The plan (such as it was) was to get some sort of a job, attach myself somehow to Internet culture (as conveyed by Mondo 2000), and maybe go to this new graduate program I’d heard about from my Anthropology professor, who had it turn heard about from Esther Dyson’s Release 1.0 newsletter. It was going to be extremelycyber.

My plan arrived in the evening, and I was whisked into the city and to my room in a rickety South of Market Victorian rented by a friend who had arrived only a few months earlier (thus saving me the trauma of the early Internet bubble apartment hunt).

The next day I sent this email to the woman who I had not yet figured out I was going to marry. When I tell this story to my grandchildren, I’ll need to explain to them about Internet cafes.

Got here late last night. Wandering around all morning. House is lovely, neighborhood is questionable.

Other than being dazed, confused, unemployed, alone, and feeling so far out of my depth it’s not even funny, I’m doing fine. :)

Fifteen years later, the neighborhood is still questionable, but a room in that lovely Victorian will cost you $300 a night. I did eventually go to grad school. I did become involved in Internet culture, although not in the way I expected. I now live on the far west side of the same city with my wife and our two children, who were born and are being raised in this city.

My life shifted the night I first arrived here. Fifteen years later I’m still living that shift. I’m not alone, I’m only a little dazed and confused, but I’m still completely out of my depth, and I’m still doing fine.

3 thoughts on “Fifteen years in San Francisco

  1. And then when I arrived in Berkeley, something over 12 years ago, you and Eva were among the first people I met here.
    In addition to the immense pleasure of knowing you, I think about 90% of my local social network consists of people I know through you, or met through people I met through you, or met because of activities I started after being encouraged by someone I met through you… Quite a ripple effect.
    So yeah. I’m glad you moved to San Francisco, and that you decided to pursue that wacky graduate program. You not only changed your own life, you changed mine too! (but don’t worry, you only get credit, no blame :)

  2. I continue to wonder how many years it’s going to take me to convince you to live in the sun, down in the valley…
    Count me as one of the people glad you made the leap to SF.

  3. Holy cow, did they turn that building into some sort of swanky B&B? Seems like having a methodone clinic around the corner would be a downside for it, unless that’s gone too.
    My plan arrived in the evening
    I know this is a typo, but it seems so appropriate for this post.
    And I’m glad you finally figured out that you were going to marry her. There were several of us that were hoping you would!

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