I wasn’t going to post this originally, but after sitting on it a few days I figured why not.
Living in any other place than the Mission felt like I was in a long distance relationship. I was always longing for it or being drawn back to it.
My life was in the Mission. So when I moved there in November, I was stoked to be close to work, as well as my favorite bars and boys.
I subletted on 19th and Shotwell with my friend Rafi. Our quiet tree-lined street had neighbors we knew the names of and smooth pavement to skate down to work. Much better than taking the 33 from the Inner Richmond.
Not needing to commute to and from work made more time for fun — especially at the the tail end of Indian Summer. On one warm night, I watched the sunset from a rooftop and saw the vanilla sky reflecting off the skyline with a bottle of wine and a boy I liked.
We were having a great time until his landlord heard us on the roof and barked at us. We scattered but I ran into him outside. “Was that you?” he said, looking slightly sweaty and out of breath. “I was going to come out with my shotgun. You could’ve been killed.”
That run-in pretty much ended the night. I walked home and got into bed at 10pm but realized that that warm fall night was rare — and still young. So I put back on my clothes and skated around the Mission in a tank top and shorts until I saw my friend Marie on the street and ended the night with her and a bunch of Mexico City expats at El Rio.
In this hood, every night had potential.
I joked that living in the Mission would be the end of me. And there were nights where it felt like the case.
One night I went out with my friend Allan to the bar that no one goes to on 16th Street, where I lost half my drink and money on the dance floor. Later we skated down 16th to Evelyn Lee, where I fell off my board and landed on my head as the 22 bus sped past behind me. A sobering moment. At the bar, I sulked and nursed my wounds until Allan put on Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” We danced, he dipped me, and I felt better.
There was that one night we polished off a bottle of bourbon after work and drove one of our friends home to one of the most prostitute-populated corners of the Mission. He drunkenly fell trying to close the door. I ran out to help him, but in the process lost an iPhone my friend had lent me, adding to the laundry list of shit I lost or broke while living in the Mission.
But being without a phone gave me freedom hang out with people who mattered most and not check Instagram every two minutes. As a result, there weren’t many pictures of the Mission, but sometimes it’s about the pictures you didn’t take.
When I moved out of Rafi’s house on December 1st, his parting words were this: “People said us living together was going to be a bad idea.”
He paused. “It wasn’t.”
I felt the same way about the Mission. Sure, there were plenty of of bad decisions and debauchery. But that’s what Mission nights are all about.