Posts Tagged ‘san’
I’ve decided that my room isn’t big enough for a bed.
At about 8 feet by 10 feet, I can just barely fit my two desks, a couch and some random computer chair, but I can’t comfortably squeeze in a mattress, box spring and bed frame. Therefore, I’ve decided to live without one.
Thanks, Japan, for making this decision possible. I figured that because your largest metropolitan area has an average of almost 5,800 residents crammed in every square kilometer, you know a little something about space management. For readers who need a more allegorical comparison, that’s like cramming the population of the city of Los Angeles into the city limits of San Francisco. Tight fit.
So instead of taking that extra-long twin my parents want out of their house and stashing it somewhere in my room, I pull out a cheap, blue, child-sized futon at night. I sleep on that, in the style of all those really crowded countries across the Pacific.
It’s mighty comfortable, even ignoring that it lays right on the floor and all. I like my mattresses firm. The floor is pretty firm.
I have no reason to switch back in the near future, especially considering the health benefits of a firm mattress for my sort of sleeper.
I’m thinking that this is a pretty smart move, at the very least because not having to worry about a permanent fixture in the middle of my room really opens up my place.
When I think about it, though, this isn’t a decision between mattress and futon. The last guy with this room had no problem with his bed the way it was, and he had a mighty fine bed. No, this was a decision between one mattress and two or three large, wooden bookcases.
Even after recognizing that this is the real reason I’m going without a West-style bed, I’d choose bookcases any day of the week. Nothing makes me feel more at home than multiple full bookshelves. I’d like to get back to that.
Of course, it’s a good thing I’m only sleeping Japanese and not living it. If I were living Japanese, I wouldn’t be able to afford an apartment large enough to fit either my mattress or the behemoth-sized oak shelving coming my way.
In other words, God bless America.
San Francisco is full of good intentions, and San Franciscans in many ways must think of their city as a model for the rest of the country. Not the least of San Francisco’s triumph has been the response to its once-growing problem of homelessness.
Via Neatorama, I found a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed detailing how well these good intentions leave behind most of their working citizens.
But while the city spends hundreds of millions of dollars to house the extremely poor, there is a large segment of its population — hard-working, fully employed and stable – that makes too much money to get the help they need to find affordable housing. …
A family of four that makes more than $24,850 — which is 30 percent of San Francisco’s average median income — will be unable to find any subsidized housing, according to local experts. Instead, the family can either cram into a tiny studio or flee the city — along with the better-paid teachers, firefighters and police officers who have already done so.
Unfortunately, all of these people made a single, critical mistake: They got a job.
Homeless in San Francisco are taken care of because enough San Franciscans above the poverty line pay their taxes, and enough don’t mind paying. They figure: if San Francisco can fix poverty by tacking on to the municipal tax rate an extra few fractions of a percentage point, and if much of the cost will be covered by tourists, then it’s a worthy sacrifice.
Yet — hasn’t San Francisco created a new kind of poverty by eliminating homelessness? The lower middle class can’t afford to live in the city, and must either commute from outside communities or cram into tiny one-room apartments. It’s a fine line between adequate housing and inadequate housing.
The unemployed have reasonable homes in San Francisco; many employed don’t, and can’t. To wit: If this op-ed has its facts straight — big if — then homelessness has only barely been fixed.
Much worse, once living in subsidized housing, what incentive would the laziest of the unemployed have to break out of the cycle of poverty if their basic needs are already taken care of? Much less, what incentive would there be to get a job if having basic needs taken care of already requires no personal effort?
Even if my conjecture doesn’t pan out, I have a feeling that San Francisco isn’t half the model its well-meaning residents think it is.
I read dystopias and apocalyptic fiction. Those are by far my favorite genres. The other day, I found a real gem in some fictional footnotes in one of them.
Jack London’s “The Iron Heel” quotes John Burns, a British labor leader around the turn of the century. He was visiting Chicago when a reporter asked him what he thought of the city.
Chicago is a pocket version of Hell.
Naturally, this made some headlines at the time, prompting another reporter to ask him some months later if Burns’ opinion had changed.
Why, yes. Hell is a pocket version of Chicago.
I shared this canard with my master teacher. She had her own response.
Chicago’s always been a rough town. If New York City is the Grand Dame of American cities, then Chicago is the rough-and-tumble juvenile delinquent. Even now, Chicago has an air of respectability, but that’s just a thin veneer — there’s still some roughness around the edges.
This comment inspired a series of personifications.
Boston — Matronly great aunt with some progressive whims.
Los Angeles — Irresponsibly extravagant 530-pound second cousin, whose mobile home is characterized by tchotchke and a 42-inch flat screen TV.
New Orleans — Barfly with a heart of gold, but one who will still take the guys upstairs.
San Francisco — Weird kid sister with an esoteric, artistic side and an eye for free love. May have once been a kid brother.
Washington, D.C. — Girl scout with such charisma that she gets away with having her overpriced cookies as a front for high-risk futures trading.
Any others in this tradition?