Earlier this evening, I was walking towards Broadway to the bus stop and I ran into a good friend and mentor of mine who I see much too little of lately. Though I was in a bit of a rush to catch the bus, she made me stop and give her a hug, which really brightened my day.
I continued towards Broadway and thought about how much I love that aspect of downtown – sometimes it feels like a small town. It’s hard for me to walk more than a couple blocks without running into someone I know – the employees of restaurants and stores I frequent, friends I rarely see, fellow bloggers.
And I thought about a conversation I had a few weeks ago, ironically, with the same friend I ran into this evening. She spent her 20s living in San Francisco and absolutely loved it so she was trying to talk a friend of ours who had just moved here from Chicago to move to SF. She reminisced about being out and about in San Francisco and running into people she knew who would invite her out for drinks and such. She said how that would never happen in Oakland – she just didn’t run into people here. She loves Oakland, but feels like it’s more of a place to settle down, not a place to spend one’s youth.
I think her perspective is somewhat related to age and circumstance. She’s no longer in her 20s and she’s a single parent. And it’s possible she just hasn’t built the same network here in Oakland that she had in San Francisco. To me, her description of San Francisco reminded me of how I feel about Oakland. For me, this city is filled with both a fair amount of familiarity and surprise – really, just the perfect mix. I think it’s the perfect place to spend my 20s, and hopefully my 30s and 40s and 50s…
What do you think – is Oakland just a place to settle down or can it be filled with as much excitement as San Francisco?