Friday, October 06, 2006

San Francisco is RUDETOWN, USA!!

( I hope this doesn't sound like a lot of whining. Angelina says it does. But, I'm going to say it anyway!)
San Francisco is one of the rudest places on the planet. Wherever you go, people are rushing around without any concern for anyone else. You see it when you’re driving, especially. People won’t let you change lanes, they will tailgate you to the point where it’s dangerous, and heaven forbid if you somehow upset them on the road, because they’ll flip you off and cuss you out if you so much as glance in their direction. If you’re walking the streets of SF, it’s just as bad. Drivers will not give you the right of way for any reason. They rule the road and you’d better know it. I’ve talked to several SF natives about what’s being referred to as “the Manhattan-ization of San Francisco” and they tell me that it wasn’t always like this. It all seems to have started right after the 1989 earthquake and no one can really say why. I think it’s because no one is from here anymore. Everybody is a transplant from somewhere else and their attitude is “I’m getting mine and f--- you if you get in my way.” Also, in a big city where people live on top of each other, there’s a certain amount of strain due to the close proximity of other supposed human beings. There’s also a real feeling of anonymity here – it’s like “Hey, I’ll never see you again because this city is so big, so I don’t feel like I have to be accountable for my behavior.” Coming from living in San Jose for almost three decades, I’m not used to it. People there are much friendlier, laid-back and courteous. I mean, you’re going to find pockets of nice people and a-holes wherever you go, but I’m talking about the norm. Sometimes I meet people and I am amazed how wonderful they are. It makes me proud to be a part of the human race. Other times I encounter people that make me realize that all we really are is primates with opposable thumbs who beat the rest of the monkeys to the top of the food chain. When I first moved here a year ago from the South Bay, I’d like to believe that I brought with me a friendly approach to life. That’s just my nature. I’d give up shopping carts at the grocery store and let other customers go ahead of me at the checkout stand if they only had a few items, for instance. Now, I don’t do those kinds of things anymore, because, for one, no one says thank you or seems to appreciate it if you do. Cutting folks off in line, ignoring people when they’re trying to get by, snarling at them if you look at them sideways – the citizens of SF are just plain rude! I admit, it’s changed me, but I refuse to become one of them. Welcome to San Francisco, California, aka Rudetown, USA!!

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