The Maps of My Cities

I’ve been feeling a generally sense of ennui about San Francisco lately.

And not really for all the headline reasons, even though, yes, the housing is astronomically expensive, and there are way too many homeless people and there is poop everywhere and the public transit isn’t great.

But that’s not the reason for my discontent.

In fact, I’m not even sure I can pinpoint the source of my malaise.

Other than it started with a trip to LA. Which is honestly the source of most of my ennui about San Francisco.

Pretty much every time I go to LA, I have this feeling. This feeling that LA is my home and every other place is Just. Not.

Even though I have lived in San Francisco for almost ten years and I only lived in LA for 7.

Even though I last lived in LA 11 years ago.

Even though I don’t know if I could live in a city where I had to drive every day anymore.

And yet.

Every time I go to LA, I have this sense of knowing. Of knowing this city, MY CITY, better than any other city. I have so many maps of LA in my head. As my friend and I drove through the city a few weeks ago, I found myself remembering all the random bars, the coffee shops, the restaurants, the paper stores, the malls, the beaches, the studio lots, the yoga studios, the casting offices, the bagel shops, and my old friends the 101 and the 405.

And then it hit me.

I don’t know where the playgrounds are.

Surely that can’t be, I thought furiously. I must have been to A Playground in LA.

I struggled. WERE there playgrounds in LA? There MUST be playgrounds in LA.

Finally, triumphantly, I pulled up two from the recesses of my brain. One in Silverlake and one near Redondo Beach, though don’t actually ask me to navigate to it. I just know it exists.

By contrast, my map of San Francisco contains copious numbers of playgrounds. No matter the neighborhood in San Francisco, I can probably direct you to one nearby.

And for some reason, knowing that there was a way that I knew San Francisco better than LA?

It made me feel a little better about my life in San Francisco.

Because maybe my San Francisco mental map collection will never grow to rival my LA collection.

But I’ve got a pretty badass map of SF playgrounds in my brain.

And that’s got to count for something.

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