Jury duty has a magical way of bringing out the inner crazy in everyone. It turns the public into a nearly empty tube of toothpaste — as you squeeze the life out of it, it inevitably pops and splatters in your face. Being summoned is an exercise in extreme patience, but if you’re like me, it can also satisfy a year’s worth of morbid curiosity. To what extremes will prospective jurors go to prove their own incompetence, hence excusing them from their civic duty?
As I found out last week, some people subtly stumble upon their own craziness as its teased out through a line of questioning. This is perhaps the most common. They want to seem fair and impartial in front of a room full of their peers, but when the counsel turns the screws, they crack. Others dump their mental purses out on the table Ally-Sheedy-Breakfast-Club style. They let the judge and counsel sift through the pennies, loose Goldfish, and unwrapped tampons of their minds to find coherent thoughts and opinions. Others are even more blunt, practically shouting racist epithets as they file into the courtroom.
It’s been just over two years since I moved to the Bay Area from Atlanta. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how completely different it is out here and what it’s like living in San Francisco from a displaced Southerner’s perspective. It’s impossible to capture all the little details when someone from back east asks me “How is California treating you?” Usually I make some generic comment about how nice the weather is, or how crazy it is working in tech. But here’s the full answer — my collection of observations, musings, and rants about San Francisco and NorCal (yes, it’s really called that).
First, let’s make one thing crystal clear. Despite my drivers license and impending jury duty summons, I will never be a San Franciscan. However, there are times when I’ve come dangerously close. These include when I:
- Developed a concerning Birkenstock tan
- Cooked and enjoyed my first vegetarian quinoa bowl
- Referred to every patch of green space in San Francisco as “the dog park”
- Finally got a Clipper card
- Ordered a vape through Eaze and it was delivered to my apartment in three minutes
- Sold my car
This last one is pretty crazy and happened in November. It was a very strange and bittersweet moment, especially considering that I’ve never been without wheels since I was 16 years old. I’ve always needed a car, but not so living in the Mission. I never drove the damn thing except to move it for street sweeping, and when I did, it was a nightmare trying to find parking. Sometime I would just treat myself to an $80 parking ticket as a kind of fuck-it tax.
But I’m chauffeured to work in a luxury coach with Wi-Fi and I live a five minute walk from the BART station. Lyft is also piloting a rental car program in San Francisco, so there are plenty of options for getting around. This morning I rode an electric rental bike to the gym. But mostly I prefer to walk. Some days I walk seven miles without even realizing it!
As I mentioned, I live a neighborhood called the Mission. It’s the home of Dolores Park, brilliant street art, countless shops, bars and restaurants, and is a place where people come from all over to people watch, wear their leather jackets and feel cool. It’s like if Little 5 Points and a mariachi band had a baby. On a one-block stretch of Mission Street you can get a street pupusa, a bootleg copy of Gilmore Girls season 3, a $4 happy hour whiskey ginger, a pair of glittery pink hot pants, and a hair cut at a salon called WERK. Continue reading
In June of last year, I started working as a copywriter and content creator for a gargantuan national retailer, by far the largest corporation I’ve ever worked for. Along with learning the veritable alphabet soup of job position and department acronyms, I started to become keenly aware of the liberal, one might even say egregious, use of corporate jargon.
The jargon goes far beyond laughable terms like “synergy” and “paradigm shift,” and has weaseled its way into everyday, non-meeting conversations. Some are barely noticeable, like physical tics, and others are so horrifying they make you want to move to Iowa and become a beet farmer, leaving the board rooms far behind. Continue reading
I could say that this is a bullshit holiday invented by capitalist pig greeting card companies and manufacturers of waxy, mediocre chocolates. These same companies that undoubtedly have contracts with Weight Watchers and 100 Calorie Packs, which as we all know, if you mow down a box of six, does not equal 600 calories. It’s science.
None of this is untrue, but there’s another side to this ugly die. Let’s all keep this in mind as we approach this miserable holiday:
Even when you are head-over-heels, shit-eating grin, dance around the house, window-licking in love, Valentine’s Day still sucks.
It never won’t suck. Continue reading
Dear Woman Sitting Behind Me in 12A on This Flight to Vegas,
For the last two and a half hours I’ve been suppressing a distinct and snowballing hatred for you. You insist on squawking at full volume on and on about all the mundane things that come to your mind. Dismal proof of your repressed suburban life. Mindless chatter that sets those subjected to it back decades of intellectual years when heard at normal volume, but at your chosen decibel level, it’s simply unbearable.
And of course, you have a Southern accent which makes your inane yammering sound, if at all possible, more vapid.
As if that was not enough, after one and a half Shock Tops you’ve taken to laughing at everything you say. Your favorite topic has been how ridiculously hot it is on this plane. When the flight attended asked you if you wanted anything you requested air conditioning and then threatened to “strip down to your skivvies.” I got a good look at you when you went to use the lavatory, and seeing you in your skivvies would be an event so unholy, I would sell my own mother into white slavery to keep your clothes on. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: This was a rant that I wrote my first year at SCAD in 2007-08. I submitted it to District, SCAD’s newspaper, the following year but of course it didn’t get published.
We’ve all been to one at some point in our lives, or at least we’ve seen the pictures. The mindless droll that sets us back five intellectual years with every photo we see. I’m talking about Eighties-themed parties. You can’t spend a weekend on a college campus without hearing about one.
Party of the year
The first quarter I was at SCAD, I got invited to “The Party of the Year,” according to some very credible sources and Facebook bullshit. My knee-jerk reaction was to say no because it was, in fact, an Eighties party. I get dragged to said party because I have unfortunate lapses of judgment and moments of pathetic weakness.
Since these events are always about the clothes, my wardrobe choice was an outfit a la Debbie Harry-meets-Nancy Spungen (deceased girlfriend of the Sex Pistols bassist, Sid Vicious). It was a completely ridiculous mix of glam rock and punk including a leather jacket and overly teased hair.
I didn’t expect too many people to be dressed as ‘80s punks, but when a friend told me he was going as Dee Snider, I figured there would be a few people there representing hair metal, or glam rock like David Bowie. At the very least, I expected to see some power suits with huge shoulder pads and skinny ties, because let’s face it: it doesn’t matter if you’re in a nursing home or the fourth grade, everyone’s seen Miami Vice.
I was wrong.