Monday, May 02, 2005

Hayes Valley Cool

Amidst the typical pandemonium of my daily life, wifey, the defiant one, mj, and I squeezed in a short foray into the city. It was my wife's brilliant idea, as she was fiending for one of those tasty panini sandwiches at Arlequin. Destination: Hayes Valley... I'm always down for that.

As most of locals know, SF is really made up of many distinct neighborhoods, each characterized by their unique quirks. It's what gives the city that small town feel. And, it's why it's hard to get sick of SF since there are really so many SF's. You've got the Mission, where working class hispanics mesh with young bohemian types. You've got the Marina, home of young priviledged Bush-worshipping whites. You've got the Tenderloin, the coolest melting pot of crackheads and dirty whores in the country.

I enjoy all the hoods of SF. They each serve their purpose. It's what keeps me so dexterously well-rounded. I get to pick and choose highly specific adventures and forms of entertainment. Today, I got to go to one of my favorite SF neighborhoods, Hayes Valley.

Hayes Valley is the epitome of cool. You have chill restaurants like Absinthe and Arlequin and my all-time favorite SF bar: Place Pigalle. I've only hung out in there a couple times and I could still say that. Both times I drank well-poured pints, played challenging games of pool with some really oddball characters. Chicks are friendly, highly-intelligent and sexy in their own SF-kind-of-way (and they are confident enough to approach you). It sure beats kicking it a Jillians with the same old boring corporate drones and spitting game at fob japanese chicks here for some dental assistant convention.

You have rad shops like the Sake store (forgot the name), where they have the largest sake inventory in the country and HUF, where peeps in the know get the hottest kicks on the city. The clothing stores rock too, albeit they're on the pricey side, but that's only because local designers sell their shit in there. And that's all that comes to mind right now.

Coolest part about it though is the locals. They're a cut above the rest in every way. It's peculiarly stylish: You can't tell if peeps are wearing the latest fashions or hand me downs from their pimp uncles and aunts. Nonetheless, I don't think they consciously care.

They exude high levels of confidence but almost seem excessively friendly in a non-intrusive manner in conversation. Class and racial segregations truly appear nonexistant. You don't have the stuck up Pac Heights trust fund assholes nor do you have the Leftist tree hugger type homos of the Castro. They appear aloof to all that. You see free thinkers who don't feel the need to tout themselves as free thinkers.

I think a lot of trends start here accidentally.

It's difficult to express to someone if you haven't been there and haven't lived in SF for three or more years. But, walk around and hang out here for a few hours on a sunny afternoon. You will understand. This hood is cool.