Living in Certain “Desirable” Cities Isn’t Worth the Pain

Many years ago, when I was 20 I thought either Greenwich Village or the Haight Ashbury were the best most desirable places to live.

My initial explorations showed me that even in 1967 New York City was an outrageously expensive place to live unless you had a rent controlled apartment.

But it had neat club where musicians I like played, all sorts of book stores and museums as well as a hip scene.

I had wanted to go to California for a long time and it was further away from home, just going was an adventure so I decided on San Francisco and the Haight Ashbury.

I was crushingly disappointed by the Haight.

Oh, San Francisco had a great music scene, was home to City Lights Books.  Just eating in the greasy spoons of Chinatown and the Mission was an adventure.

And the hip scene was beyond words.

But Berkeley had all that and more, plus it had cheap places to live as well as a far less brutal police force.

So my friends and I moved to Berkeley.

In 1974 I moved to Los Angeles.

In those days LA was a paradise.  Beautiful weather.  I found a cheap apartment on Sunset, just east of where the Strip began.

In the early 1980s I moved back to the Bay Area.  The rents were already sky high and while the music scene was still affordable living there was a struggle.

I spent the end of the 1980s back in LA.  The neighborhoods I could afford were more dangerous and the apartments weren’t as nice.  The bookstores were moving away from Hollywood and everything was getting to be a struggle

When I met Tina I went to live with her on Long Island.  It was my first experience with living in suburbia.

It was nice.  Really nice, quiet with room for hobbies.

Together we moved to Dallas/Fort Worth.  We live in a nice suburb and while we are planning on down sizing to a smaller house with lower taxes we are generally looking in the same part of north east Dallas.

We like Texas in spite of the politics and religion.

Great cheap restaurants, great live music scene, Half Price Books and really nice people.

Now we live on the edge of a major metroplex, one where artists and other lower income folks can actually live and have enough left over to enjoy life.

But more importantly I don’t really miss New York or Los Angeles and I sure as hell don’t miss San Francisco, which I grew to hate.

But most of all I don’t miss the supercilious attitudes, the pseudo-sophistication and vague sense of superiority people who live in those high price places project upon those of us who live in more affordable areas.

3 Responses to “Living in Certain “Desirable” Cities Isn’t Worth the Pain”

  1. Jessica Sideways Says:

    One of the (very few) things I miss about Texas is Half Price Books, last time I was in Houston, I filled up a couple of priority mail boxes and shipped a tonne of books back home to Denver. 🙂

    • Suzan Says:

      Half Price Books is a real treasure. So is Book People in Austin, which also has/had one of the last feminist book stores in the Nation. There was a LGBT bookstore here in Dallas long after they had closed across much of the country.

      And Texas Music… The music scene here is so rich with the sort of music I love, from Willie to Marcia Ball.

      • Jessica Sideways Says:

        Yeah, I am planning on moving to Montréal though because the more I live here in the states, the more I know why I don’t want to. I figure *eventually* I might move out to Gatineau or Ville du Québec but Montréal would be good for me at first. 🙂


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