Desperation

personal, society

What would you do for 40 cents?

I learned just what 40 cents could mean to someone this past weekend when I discovered my car window shattered, glass shards littering the entire back seat.

The thief took 40 cents in change from the little dish where I keep parking meter money. He or she also took my backup pair of prescription glasses presumably to fetch a buck or two on the street (the main pair was among a bevy of personal stuff stolen from me in Estonia).

Though I don’t really believe in Fate or God or anything like that, I can’t help but ponder that someone or something is trying to suggest that maybe San Francisco isn’t the right place for me.

I never did quite feel at home in this big city, despite its highly publicized allure. Sure, you can find a zillion awesome restaurants here, the weather — excepting frequent fog — isn’t too bad, and the amount of “intellectual capital” is rather exciting and impressive.

But jobs are scarce, parking sucks, rents are insanely high, public transportation is mediocre at best (compared to Boston, Chicago, and almost any major city in Europe), and so on.

In my few years here, I’ve had my suitcase stolen from the sidewalk in front of my apartment while I was moving in, I’ve gotten hundreds of dollars in parking tickets, I’ve been physically assaulted, and now I’ve had my car broken into.

This does not make for a peaceful, comfortable life.

Even though I understandably hated my suburban existence growing up (booooring!), now I have an increased appreciation for unlimited free parking, few one-way streets, and most importantly, the ability to walk to my car at night without worrying about me OR my auto.

And with the money I’d save by moving to, say, a suburb of Chicago or Minneapolis, I could sure afford some nice winter coats and a lot of plane tickets to visit warmer climes. Hmm.

1 comment… add one
  • Matt Hendrickson Feb 12, 2003

    Adam—Two words for you… SOUTH DAKOTA!

    Now, don’t go into hysterics just yet! Here are some reasons to look at South Dakota.

    1. Very Low Crime Rate. Sioux Falls and Rapid City may be the statistical differences, but by and far, the State’s crime rate is very low. Not to mention freindly drivers (just stay off 41st Street in Sioux Falls, trust me on this!)

    2. Resonable Cost of Living. I won’t say “cheap,” but consider the fact that we don’t have a personal nor corporate income tax, only property and sales taxes. Licensing your car is fairly reasonable, about $45 when I renewed my plates last year.

    And houses are very reasonable. A “fancy” house will go for about $200,000 in Sioux Falls, while a “nice” house will go for $100,000. And if you live in a small town, the price drops dramatically.

    And insurance rates are REALLY LOW, too!

    3. Good Business climate. Okay, let’s see… Gateway (before Waitt moved the HQ to CA and screwed himself over!), Daktronics, Qwest, Wells Fargo, and new business moving to South Dakota every day. Minnesota and Nebraska really love us…we take all their jobs!

    4. Small state, but not isolated. If you live around Sioux Falls, you are 3 hours from Fargo, 3 1/2 hours from the Twin Cities, and about 3-4 hours from Omaha and Lincoln. And if you have a long weekend to kill, Kansas City is about a 5 hour drive (depending on how heavy your foot is!) and Chicago is an 8 hour trip.

    5. No Pollution problems like you’ll find in the larger cities of LA, Chicago, and New York. We take our fresh air seriously here!

    6. Not to brag, but some of the nicest people around! We’ll pull over in the middle of the night on I-29 to help you change a tire, open doors for you and yours and generally be civil and decent.

    Think about it. Take a week or so and come out to visit, see how you like it. Who knows? You may not want to leave!

What do you think?