Bay Area Observations (after 60 days or so of experience)


Some “Bay Area Observations” having recently moved to the area from the Southeast:


1. “Another beautiful day.” That’s what people always say in the Bay area .. “just another boring beautiful day.” It’s a lie. I can guarantee at minimum one beautiful hour every day in almost every zip code. Now. That hour is frickin’ amazing but almost every day there is some fog, a haze or something. Somewhere. So if you want a “beautiful day” you could probably create an entire one if you are willing to drive to at least three different locations throughout the day.


2. “Cold.” Okay cool. Always … maybe it’s cause I am from the south but bring a coat and a blanket. The people here suggest “bring or wear layers.” That’s their way of suggesting “hey .. it can get frickin cold here so be prepared.”


3. Everybody bikes (or at least they own a bike). Even tourists bike. You can see Germans who have never guided anything but their BMW or Mercedes tooling around on silly looking non-hi-performance bikes, stopping at corners with maps (is it because they are German that they can always refold a map exactly as it was originally folded?) and getting sunburned.


4. Corollary to 3: bikers versus dog walkers. You are either for biking or for dog walking on trails. They call them “multi-use paths” but you are either on one team or the other and that trail so for you and only you. (there is sometimes some yelling involved).


5. Wind. There is always at minimum a breeze. On the coast it can be a frickin’ hurricane and in spots you can feel like in the middle of a gale but otherwise the air is rarely still (maybe it’s all the bikers moving around?)


6. Dog poop. There is a fascination with dog poop in the bay area. Recyclable bags available. Dog poop etiquette editorials and pamphlets. Letters to the editor. City ordinates. “no dog poop” signs. Signs suggesting dog poop is bad for the environment (so pick it up) and signs suggesting dog poop can be recycled as fertilizer if properly discarded. The French could learn something from bay area poop knowledge.


lost my marbles crazy everyone knows life show7. Recycling. Relationships can be made or broken over the recyclable issue. There are color coded bins for different recycling but unfortunately they don’t color code items you throw away. Garanimals could teach the recycling industry a thing or two (and if you are color blind you are doubly screwed). Anyway. When in doubt recycle (even dog poop).


8. Water. Despite the fact there hasn’t been a drought in a bazillion years (ok. Maybe a decade) there is a focus on maximizing every drop of water available. Bottled water companies must love the bay area. Soap companies must hate the bay area.


9. No speeding on highways. Surprisingly no one ever speeds in the bay area. There is no fast lane. Pretty much everyone goes the speed limit regardless of what lane you are in. In addition the slower drivers actually never drive in the far right lane mostly because there are all these wacky entrance ramps (where people drive the speed limit also) and the slower drivers are forced to pull over anyway so they just avoid the right lane. It makes for some challenging drives but at least no one is going fast enough to really hurt anyone beyond bumper car damage.


10. The radio loves Gwen Stefani/No Doubt music. I don’t care what station you listen to – emo, punk, retro, classic, pop, country – there will be a No Doubt or Gwen Stefani song playing during the hour of listening. I admit some of the stations get creative with the remixes but there is a love affair with anything Gwen.


11. No Doubt other side of the story: Silversun Pickups. On the other hand, thank god, there is a love affair with Silversun Pickups (one of the best up and coming bands in the good ole US of A). Almost every station has picked a song from the Silversun CD (which is pretty amazing) and keeps it in high rotation.


12. 5 to 7 pounds. Let’s call it comfortable in their own skin. Call it looking healthy if you want. But people aren’t really really skinny here. It ain’t no plastic LA that’s for sure. People look healthy but natural. Most people seem active if not truly exercising and the women are comfortable with a 5 to 7 pound difference from the “twiggy world.” And it looks good.


13. Nice people. Beyond the bikers versus the dog walkers there is no yelling or anger driven discussion. It may be one of the most civil places you could live. (maybe everyone is stoned?). Anyway. People in the Bay area are nice. Even the Apple people who are maniacally protective of their perceived technological nuances (although I hate to tell them they are not really anything special but great marketing widgets).


14. Acupuncture for dogs (and cats I would imagine). I haven’t figured out how vets decided that dogs in California would endorse becoming pincushions for sharp objects in the name of “feeling better” (in the southeast we just sneak them some beer or jack Daniels) but the vets here have convinced themselves that dogs are happy to not take pills but rather have a bunch of needles shoved in their ass.

Go figure.


15. Red tree frogs. Imagine closing down one of the most popular golf courses in your area because of something called a red tree frog. Seriously. It is being discussed here.



Seems like that is a good place to end my ramblings on Bay area learnings.

Written by Bruce