How Not to Move to L.A.
Next time you’re at the bar take a look around. See that look of quiet, yet clearly shameful resignation on the face of that guy in the corner? You’ve seen him before, haven’t you? You’ve definitely seen that look.
Yeah, so what’s the deal? you’re wondering.
Did he lose his job?
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Did his puppy get eaten by an alligator?
Worse. The poor bastard is moving to L.A.
It happens everyday, but breaks my heart just the same. San Francisco is the Jennifer Aniston of U.S. cities—easy to love, but ultimately destined for People Magazine’s celebrity divorce issue. Now I don’t know what’s up with Ms. Aniston, but the city has some obvious things going against it at the moment. First, there’s the fact that rent and Powerball jackpots are nearly identical now. And then there’s the changing—how do I say this—scenery. A once charming Victorian cityscape and its delightful band of weirdos, beatniks and outcasts are being crushed beneath glass towers, bad art and hoverboards.
I can tell you’re picturing it because your puke is showing.
Yet, despite the changes some folks are holding fast to a city that is more normal, more expensive and a lot less wild than it was only a few years ago. It’s not a choice easily rationalized. Then again it’s 2016, you’re living in San Francisco and you’re reading a how-to article on a website with Broke right there in the title. Passably wise life decisions were probably not what got you here in the first place.
I get it though. The city still has something ineffable about it. A kind of cosmic pull. Shit, listen to me ramble on like some mystic kook. Chances are it’s good old fashioned nostalgia or simple delusion that keeps us aboard a ship that sank long before the squares came marching in.
Still, if we can weather a world where a third-rate bigot like Donald Trump can bankrupt everything he touches and still have a legitimate shot at ruling the United States, then we can sure as shit sweat out a few Chads who think San Francisco is just Manhattan with better weather.
And so for those unwilling to give up the ghost, here are a few ways to keep the rent paid until the hemorrhoid pops:
This city was built by hustlers—gold pans and shell scams were tools of the trade. Now we have apps, which are part of what got us into this mess in the first place. Anyway, the folks living in those beautiful new glass boxes—how much do you think it costs to have the seagulls scraped off those things everyday?—also make apps like Wonolo and Task Rabbit. These things are designed to make the rich richer, not you. But if you need 50 bucks yesterday they can be useful. And while Craigslist’s gig section does come with its fair share of serial killers and scammers, with a little discretion and some patience you’ll find someone who will pay you to deliver weed, write porn or take their cat for a walk on the beach. Stay at it and you might be eviction-free for another month.
Avoid Wooden Interiors
Eating cheap in San Francisco is getting tricky. It used to be you could walk into almost any taqueria and a two-meal burrito would cost less than five bucks. Not any more. Tacolicious—a name even Ned Flanders would be embarrassed by—is just one of a new crop of restaurants selling things that resemble tacos for like $17.95.
So if you don’t have a decent cheap spot left in your neighborhood it’s time to start cooking. I use the term loosely. Here is a list of recipes that Buzzfeed claims feeds four people for five nights. If you’re anything like me you’ll give up once you realize you’re culinarily inept and go buy a ton of pasta and make that instead. Know your limits.
Leverage Your Assets (Sell Shit)
You live in a $1,500 closet so why do you still own things? Get rid of them. You can sell almost anything you own on either Craigslist or eBay. Each has its downsides. Craigslist still has serial killers and eBay has fees. It’s part of the game, so try to have fun with it. If you have more than one week’s worth of clothes then go sell the rest at Buffalo Exchange, Wasteland or one of the other trade-in shops in town. You’re not a fucking millionaire, so stop acting like it. Unless you have healthy reproductive cells or clean blood. Then you’re rich. Go sell them now. There’s a bunch of stuff your body creates naturally that you can sell.
A lot of you are going to skip right over this one, but that is the kind of flippant disregard for unsolicited advice that got you here in the first place. If you’re still with me then you’re ahead of the class. Now go get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a payphone, whatever and tell your friends to tell their friends that you’re intelligent, responsible and looking to supplement your income. Whether you have an income to supplement is neither here nor there. This is not the time to get hung up on subjective shit like facts. With any luck, someone will know someone who is financially #blessed and needs a house-sitter. That’s where a person pays you to live in their gigantic apartment while they do blow in Aspen, or whatever people with stock options do. It is your new dream job.
Okay, that’s it. That’s all there is.
Oh what, you’re disappointed? No one said not moving to L.A. was easy. If it was, you wouldn’t have been through three bff’s last year. It’s time to level with yourself. You’re still here because you are one of the thermophobic and hopelessly obstinate orphans that once made this city a beautiful goddamned place. So get off your ass and go find your hustle. San Francisco needs you.