Tony Bennett sang about leaving his heart in San Francisco and every time I heard that song, I felt a little bit of smug warmth that this city was my home.
But I’m leaving, and while San Francisco will stay frozen in time for me; its people and streets will continue changing. Eventually, when I come back to visit, it will treat me with the long suffering patience of a dismissive teenager who has no interest in hearing how I knew them when they were “still in diapers!”
What I expect to remain constant are the winding streets, the bridges, the views from Coit Tower. I thought that the cold foggy summers would also remain, but honestly, this year hasn’t been so bad.
(Yay global warming?)
Living in San Francisco as long as I have, it’s impossible to name any one thing that I will miss the most. There are places I used to go all the time but that I haven’t been to in years. I will miss those places as much as my new favorite place that I just discovered last week.
There are the iconic destinations where all tourists go; Golden Gate Bridge, Ferry Market, the Chinatown gate, the cable car turnabout at the end of Powell. So ubiquitous that for locals, they are simply a backdrop to our lives. But still, once in awhile, when running some banal errand, I’ll catch a glimpse of the bridge, and be delighted. Seeing that bridge always made me feel lucky, and I will always miss it.
Of course, what makes a place special is the friends I’ve made while living there. And often, I know that what I miss, is not really the place itself, but the specific point of time that I was there with a particular friend. I miss the moments.
Some of those friends haven’t lived in San Francisco for years. But when I pass by the places we used to hang out, I like to pretend that they’re still there, and maybe I’ll drop by in a bit and catch up like we used to.
Of course, what I’m really doing is pretending that I don’t miss them.
So to my dear, dear friends who remain in this beautiful city, here are the places you should pretend I’m still around. I know you’re busy right now, but you know, when you’re done with that errand, shoot me a text and let’s grab a quick cup of tea.
Maybe at Samovar in Hayes valley, Leland Tea Company, or if you’re feeling swank, the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus? Afterward, would you mind if we stopped by the Fatted Calf so I can pick up some rillettes, and Isotope for comic books?
Or if it’s nice out, we can walk along the beach, past the windmills, and out to the Cliff House, all the way to Lands’ End. We can stop by Java Beach for coffee or Devil’s Teeth Bakery– if we make it there before it closes at four.
There’s a show at The Marsh that I’ve been wanting to see, and we can hipster watch at Ritual or Four Barrel, after window shopping along Valencia, and buying something vaguely morbid but cool, at Paxton’s Gate
We have all the time in the world…so just look for me.
Of course, I will leave my heart in San Francisco. But the truth is that I’ve left pieces of my heart behind in everything I’ve ever loved.
Because If you are lucky enough to have loved any place or anyone, a part of you will always be missing it. After all, nothing truly good and honest in life is replaceable, you simply add it to the bank of things that you’ve been fortunate enough experience.
Just as there is no substitute for sitting in the Cours Marly at the Louvre in Paris, there is no substitute for watching the fog roll in over the bay from the top of Fillmore hill in San Francisco. This is not a bad thing; it means there is a lot to discover and love in the world, always and every day.
Goodbye San Francisco, I love you!