Thursday, July 1, 2010


Shift #60

Friday, July 2 -- Market/Portola to Alexa Software in the Presidio -- $15.25

“MY WIFE AND I MOVED HERE FROM TUCSON, ARIZONA, IN 1995. I work in software, and in Tucson I’d be six months between jobs, but in the Bay Area, in 1995, a software geek could just walk across the street and get hired. So I had easily lined up a job before we got here, but finding a place was going to be something else.

“In Tucson we had a two-bedroom apartment, with parking, for $330 a month, but now we were moving to one of the hottest real estate markets in the world. There was a one percent vacancy rate in San Francisco, everything was out-of-sight expensive, and for any open house you’d see thirty or forty couples show up -- early! -- with a credit report in hand and maybe some extra cash in their pocket to bribe the landlord.

“We were really looking forward to being in the Bay Area, but we absolutely fell in love with it when we were on the plane, in tears, and our flight attendant told us she was a landlord and she had an apartment she’d rent us. She said, ‘After the flight, I’ll meet you at the gate and we can do the paperwork.’ We told her we didn’t have our credit report or anything, and she said, ‘As long as we seal it with a hug, it’ll all be fine.’ And that’s how it worked out. And we knew we weren’t in Tucson any more.

“When we showed up the next day, she was waiting for us inside the apartment -- it was completely empty except for one black-and-white t.v. on which she was watching the O.J. Simpson trial. I remember making some comment about there being many layers of meaning in that -- watching the O.J. trial on a black-and-white t.v.

“She asked us, ‘Are you two married?’ And we said no. And she said, ‘So, this would be…living in sin?’ And we all laughed, because we knew it was a joke -- this was the Bay Area, after all. But we’d just come from a place where someone could have said that very same thing and been very, very serious about it.”

IN FRONT OF ALEXA SOFTWARE in the Presidio I turn around and say, “Well, here’s another Bay Area story. Every day, I give away one free ride…”


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