I’ve been in my new house for about a month now.
My new neighborhood, Golden Gate Heights, is an obscure, funky area that no one has heard of, up on a hill above the family-trendy Inner Sunset, and next door to the very fancy and upscale Forest Hill.
Since I am neither fancy nor family (sans kids), this neighborhood fits me quite well. Perfect, really.
But there are issues.
Because I don’t drive and am completely reliant on my feet and Clipper Card, the new terrain, climate and overall scene have rendered most of my wardrobe woefully wrong.
This is something I never considered when contemplating and completing this move to suburban San Francisco.
Living downtown meant that at any given moment I was surrounded by tourists, tech workers, transplants and trannies, gloriously anonymous. No matter how I looked or what I wore, there was someone within iphone-shot more outrageous or disheveled. The cracked dirty sidewalks were my runway where I could try new looks and wear anything and no one gave two shits but me.
Up here, I am not really surrounded by anything but trees and quiet. When I walk out of my door, unlatch the white picket fence and head towards Muni through the fog and Forest Hill, I often don’t see one person until I get to the station. This quiet can be disquieting. I’ve never felt more conspicuous or naked underneath the layers required to combat this climate. I’m a stranger in my own clothes.
And so my poor Junya Watanabe faux fur, which is begging to see the new hood, is stuck in the closet. I’m afraid to wear my most fashiony-fun items ironically because a) no one would see them and/or care and b) everyone would see them as I’m out there, alone, in the spotlight. And this makes me nervous. It just does.
I like to think that the longer I’m here, the more comfortable I’ll feel, and little by little I’ll start to bust out the better stuff.
In a way this harkens back to moving to a new school or starting a new job: you want to make a good impression, you want to be accepted, you want to fit in. And so you agonize over what to wear to maximize your success at all of this. Thankfully, over time, you can relax.
It’s just an aspect of this move that never occurred to me. My neighbors have lived here forever. They all know each other. They don’t know me, other than who they see out of their windows, the lady in the pink headphones, alone, off to do God knows what.
I still haven’t figured out what “fashion brand” Golden Gate Heights is (read my thoughts about how neighborhoods reflect different fashion labels here, and why Bernal Heights is the Rachel Comey of neighborhoods.) I need more time to break it in.
All I can say is: There goes the neighborhood.