Saturday, July 01, 2006
West Coast Holla! (or something)
Not that anyone's noticed, or cared, but I haven't really been posting anything on this site for some time. This is because I've been busy relocating from Minneapolis to San Francisco. And, given that I had only 4 weeks to do so, it took an all-out effort. Indeed, Mrs. CowboyLaw is still in Minneapolis, tying up loose ends.
Having now begun my residency by the Bay, allow me to share the following preliminary thoughts on my new hometown, and its features (such as I know them).
1. This is no revelation, but I don't enjoy paying more to rent a small apartment than I paid for my 20-year mortgage on my palatal estate in Minneapolis. I have promised myself that I won't complaint about the price of housing, because, frankly, I'M why housing in SF is expensive: young professionals like me keep moving to SF, taking high-paying jobs (see below) and buying up all the housing. The City has enacted various laws which have the effect of holding the supply of housing essentially static. Meanwhile, the population keeps growing. It doesn't take an economics PhD to figure out that when supply is held constant and demand continues to grow, price will steadily increase.
2. Additionally, I certainly don't enjoy paying $250/month for the pleasure of parking my car two blocks from my apartment. However, it is marginally more enjoyable than circling the block for 20 minutes waiting for a spot to open up. There are few human endeavors I enjoy less than searching for a parking spot. If you gave me a choice between searching for a parking spot and being anally raped by a mountain gorilla, I would ask you the following questions before making my choice: (1) searching for a parking space for how long? (2) how well-endowed is the gorilla? (3) will I get lube if I chose the gorilla? (4) is the gorilla well-groomed? (5) is the gorilla diseased? and (6) will the gorilla hold me after it's over?
3. However, I love the ease and cost of public transportation. While it is technically accurate that I can walk to work (about 20 blocks), it bears noting that the commute involves approximately 750 feet of elevation change. And there's a significant uphill component no matter which direction you're traveling in. In Minneapolis, a 30-day pass for the bus costs $75. In SF, a 30-day pass for the bus, the Muni train, the cablecars, and BART (the subway) trips inside metro SF costs $45. In Minneapolis, the bus I could have caught to go to work arrived 5 blocks from my house every 20 minutes or so. In SF, the bus I catch to go to work arrives 2 blocks away every 2 minutes. It drops me off 5 blocks from work.
4. The relative costs of public transportation vs. my car, and the accessibility of the former, is leading me to believe that when the lease on my current car expires, I will be joining ZipCar, or another "car on demand" club. I haven't driven my car in a week, but that hasn't stopped it from costing my about $200 (1 week of lease + 1 week of parking + 1 week of insurance).
5. I like that I can walk a block to a decent local market where I can buy most of the groceries I need, or a fully-cooked chicken, or about a dozen different pasta salads, or (and here's where it's really better than Minnesota) one of about 200 bottles of wine they have, or beer (and the market has Fat Tire, which is awesome).
6. I do not yet like living in an apartment again. The apartment is in a great, beautiful old building, but the building was apparently built before sound-proofing (or even sound-reducing) building materials were invented. If I chose, I could probably have a conversation with my neighbor upstairs without raising my voice significantly. I anticipate that I will grow accustomed to this. I also pray that I will grow accustomed to this.
7. I like that my current job pays me about 50% more than my last job did. Frankly, it more than offsets the stuff listed above.
8. However, my current job is also a lot more work than my old job. Which is okay, but not flamingly awesome.
Enough of my thoughts for now. Even I get tired of my thoughts eventually. More updates as events warrant. Or when I feel like it.
Posted by Ben Patrick at 6:56 PM