Four Things I Love About The Bay (And Four I’d Change)


I had a very typically Bay Area Sunday this weekend in ways which were perfect examples of why I love the Bay–and related to things I’d like to change about it. Non-Bay residents can probably disregard this one.

#1: Public Transportation. Between my carefully crafted local intuition and the Bay’s awesome public transport system, I rarely feel like I need a car. Especially during days like this, where I can get from my apartment (by Lake Merritt in Oakland) to downtown SF, then to Berkeley, then back to Oakland with relatively minimal fuss.

Change: ┬áBART would be so much more awesome if it wasn’t such a pain in the ass to GET TO A BART STATION. The “Lake Merritt” BART station is by Lake Merritt, but dammit, it’s a big fucking lake, and the bus system around the lake is pretty crappily designed. How about we pull one of the buses off the 1 and put them on a mini-bus that just runs around the lake all day? As it is, you basically have to wait at least half an hour for a bus that takes you to the other side. Might as well walk. Also, the AC Transit 18 manages to go to plenty of places I need to go to, and yet is the Slowest Bus Line Ever. Fuck.

#2: Food. Had brunch at Farmer Brown, which I guess typically gussies up soul food and sells it to white people who want to like black people. Their brunch is $18 for all-you-can-eat fried chicken, bacon, biscuits and gravy, grits, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and assorted desserts (typically sweet potato pie and red velvet cake, though the RVC runs out early). It’s one of those places which I like to go to maybe once a year, because that’s how long it takes before it seems like going back would be a good idea.

Change: I don’t get why I live in Oakland and have to come out to SF for some organic fried chicken. And no, don’t tell me to go to Merritt Bakery. I’m not going back there until they rediscover salt. Also, it took me a while to figure out that pictures of Michelle Obama and Barack Obama actually meant Women’s Room and Men’s Room. I love SF, but that was a little much even for me.

#3: Friendly People. Went to a Super Bowl party hosted by a bunch of white people I didn’t really know (friends of friends of The Lady). Never have I ever been more enthusiastically greeted by a group of people who existed for me to drink their beer, eat their food, watch their TV, and, well, nothing else, really. It’s not like I talked to them much. Hurray for the Bay.

Change: They were kinda weird. Also, one of them apparently mistook The Lady for the Other Asian Girl at the party, and another one of them was telling her about their planned trip to China (specifically: planned trips into Chinese Girl Vaginas). Seriously? In what world does this conversation seem like a good idea?

#4: Cafes. I’m still weirded out that I basically do for fun what I do for work (sitting at a desk and writing, that is), but I guess that means I like my job, especially when I’m doing it in a nice cafe with a cheap cup of coffee to put my brain into Work Mode and a buddy to hang out and make snarky comments about the other patrons with. Plus, coffee has antioxidants and shit, right? So it’s good for me. Better than sucking down cheap boba at the same frequency, anyway.

Change: Too much of it. How do I always end up ordering something that costs like $2.04? Worthless. And despite the fact that I’ve started drinking coffee, I still can’t tell what’s supposed to taste good and what doesn’t. Also, Allen owes me $7 now. Pay up, you fucker.

patrick miller