Fifty miles makes all the difference

Made a long weekend trip to San Francisco, with the family, over the Mother’s day holiday. This is our first return to the Bay Area since leaving last June for Puget Sound. We were all happy to be in the sun and out of the rain, no matter how short the stay. Getting to experience again the vibrancy of this great city, and take in a long Giants game, was just what our souls needed.

During the trip we AirBnB’ed in the Outer Sunset district. This was the first time we spent any amount time in the western districts of the city. The beach side of San Fran was beautiful, both visually and culturally. The neighborhoods are mostly single family homes, with quiet streets, and lots of sole proprietorships for restaurants. I would dare to call it a working class neighborhood, but with home prices in the one million dollar range and rents on two bedrooms apartments easily in the four thousand plus per month range it is a stretch to say it is working class like one might find in Oakland or Pittsburg. Nonetheless it felt like our kind of place.

We also made a trip down to Silicon Valley, Mountain View in particular, so that our two youngest children could reunite with the friends they made during the year we lived in the area. The stark contrast of attitudes in the Valley stuck out like sore thumb to me, almost immediately, and with nearly every interaction. I understand the young person’s thrill from believing one is changing the world. To me many lack the humility that they themselves are but a single cog in an uncountable number of wheels. They are but simple tools being used to complete the machines that started decades ago when great people figured out how to lay down integrated circuits repeatedly and connect computers using packets. Not facing, not embracing that reality makes for an unpalatable hubris.

San Francisco, we will miss you. Silicon Valley, not so much.

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