Friday, December 23, 2005

East Coast, West Coast: we're all in the same gang

The great San Francisco v. New York debates have disappeared, mainly because they were boring, but also because most of my friends have shed their regional pride and lived in other cities for several years now. You can only generate so much wind with burritos & coffee & weather vs. nightlife & public transportation & pastrami.

All that said, tromping around the Mission last night & today provoked some thoughts, and now you're going to have to hear them. First of all, San Franciscans get just as apoplectic in traffic as New Yorkers. Just as rude, just as violent. But for different reasons. New Yorkers cut people off, and then the victim goes apeshit [footnote 1]. Here, two people aggressively motion for the other to go first, meanwhile mumbling to themselves, "Just go, motherfucker. Go. Idiot. Go." And then they scream, and motion, and eventually fistfight. Also: bicyclists do the old slam-on-the-hood thing much more here; there's more self-righteousness.

Hipsters: Williamsburg/Fort Greene/etc. hipsters are the peacocks, the poppinjays of hipsters, and therefore the most annoying and false. You just know they'd be wearing Banana Republic in Tampa. SF hipsters are more like cormorants. I'm not sure what that means, but it seemed to make sense to me last night.

Crazy people: wow. I'd forgotten just how many truly batshit crazy people there are in SF, the Mission in particular. I remember there was a guy here who painted his entire body red a few years ago, wandering around just being crazy. But just in the past coupla days I've interacted with some foax who are truly barking mad. Sure, NY is full of crazypantses. But as AH points out, crazy people from all over the world come to SF like moths to a flame; smartasses from all over the world converge in NY.

[1] You can go apeshit, you can be batshit insane, you can be happy as a pig in shit, you can talk horseshit or bullshit, you can be a chickenshit, etc. Cowshit curiously not applicable. Alert Safire.