Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reason to stay in San Francisco; no. 22

Why would anyone want to leave? You may ask after looking at the photo in my last post.

Well, it is a dense urban area with all the problems that brings. Crime ( a robbery at gunpoint at a local eatery last week), shoddy, or at least inconsistent schools with a mind numbing admissions process, a fairly inept local government and a dismal public transport system. It is also a long commute for both Geekydaddy and I to our jobs in Silicon Valley and the East Bay, and many days this twice daily carbon belch feels like a time sink that steals from our family life. San Francisco is also a long long way from our familes and friends in the UK, so we periodically toy with the idea of moving. Either to the suburbs of the peninsula, or longer term back to England.

But something keeps us. Here on the blog I thought I would start recording, in no particular order, reasons to stay or go.

A conversation with Geekygirl this week reminded me of an important one.

Now Geekygirl has an imaginary friend, Leah. She tells me a lot about Leah, what she likes to eat, where she travels to, and this week I learned about Leahs family.

"mummy, did you know that Leah doesn't have a mummy and a daddy like me. She has two mummies, but one of her mummies has really short hair so she is of sort of like her daddy"

I smiled, and we continued to chat about the different family structures she has encountered in her friends, imaginary and real.

I had to chuckle at her four year old's keenly observed description of the archetypal lesbian couple. When I grew up I thought homosexuality was invented in the early 1980's by the Village People. Geekygirl is growing up in a world where being gay is unremarkable.

San Francisco may have it's problems but the people here are so different and remarkable, creating a microcosm of tolerance. Racism, homophobia and misogeny, sadly too common in most of the world, are rarely observed or heard here. I think that raising our kids in this environment is giving them a unique gift.

To me our little society on the edge of the western world is a template for the future, and I hope to see our values become the norm in the communities in which our kids will live out their adult lives. Though maybe without our terrible municipal transit system!