When in San Francisco, I don’t just care about tech the week that the iPhone XXL (pronounced “thirty”) comes out. I constantly discuss what Elon said; want what Bezos wants; wait to hear if Sergey agrees; and wonder what Zuck saw.
When in San Francisco, I carry half of my wardrobe around in a magically extending tote bag, pulling out and tucking away scarves and sweaters as I traverse neighborhoods. I buy many pairs of expensive jeans and yoga pants, and exclusively wear flats. I eschew irons of both types—hair and clothing.
When in San Francisco, I visit the Valley to watch unicorns prance with angels. They talk merrily about rounds and rounds of seeds.
When in San Francisco, I take the bus without irony, complaint, or comment. On the morning express, we sit in silence and I listen to cable cars chiming cheerily alongside us. I vaguely consider buying a car, but decide to wait for the ultimate disruption that renders cars obsolete. Someone out here is working on a better idea than the Segway, surely.
When in San Francisco, I embrace exercise as my primary form of socialization. Yes, let’s go on that hike, try aerial yoga, take a run along that trail, and bicycle soulfully. There’s usually a glass of wine in it for me afterward, which I promptly coat with sweaty fingerprints. We discuss the vintage. Because, when in San Francisco, I still don’t know what I’m talking about, but I talk a lot about wine.
When in San Francisco, my ultra-high rent includes such amenities as wall-to-wall carpeting, many thousands of stairs, a closet that eats up half the room, and why, yes, a bay window for charm.
When in San Francisco, I think about fog. Where does it come from? How dense is it? Will it show up today? Which neighborhoods does it like to hang out in most? Can I stop it from messing up my hair? In San Francisco, fog is essentially my boyfriend.
When in San Francisco, on a day when the horizon is haunted not by silky gray fog but by fiery gray smoke, I debate whether to wear a vaguely embarrassing white surgical mask. I give in. Then I give and give again.
When in San Francisco, I wander into bars or coffee shops or events and discover that there are more men present than women. I regret my wardrobe decisions.
When in San Francisco, I have opinions on nature. I take in the view. And talk about the light. I watch the sunset. And remark upon the colors. I hike through tall trees. And know what kind of trees they are. (O.K., not so much on the tree types. Let’s not go crazy here.)
When in San Francisco, a ten-minute stroll may or may not be rudely interrupted by a mountain that Google Maps neglected to mention. Such streets are referred to as “hilly,” which actually means “better call an Uber.”
When in San Francisco, I wake up early. It’s when the Soylent tastes best and I’m at my most innovative. A foghorn bleats out a productive backbeat, my own giant metronome. From what I’ve read, the early bird gets the higher valuation.
When in San Francisco, I step, blinking, out onto the street at 1:50 A.M. and wait a moment, in the hopes that the bartenders will rush out after me, having reconsidered the appropriate hour for last call. After five minutes, I order a Lyft, eat an ill-advised bacon-wrapped hot dog, and contemplate the most productive use of the next two hours and five minutes.
When in New York City, San Francisco ceases to exist. It’s the fever dream at the end of a fifteen-and-a-half-hour workday. It’s the sigh as I take off my heels. It’s some hazy hint of sweetness, like a cherry nestled in ice at the bottom of my cocktail glass.