San Francisco is the Grayest Place on Earth (Take That As You Will)

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If you are in need of a soundtrack to gray days in San Francisco, employ equally gloomy British rock bands — Babyshambles, Suede, The Smiths — they embody the silent torture of hazy rolling fog. The bands and the fog are doubtful and mysterious, cloaked in sorrow that comes from a particular empty chamber of the heart.

Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

While San Francisco’s hardworking people buzz under the fog, the empty gray sky billows into nothingness.

With so much gray surrounding them, it’s nearly impossible to think that once upon the time, this place was known for color — real, vibrant color — an outrageous color that the Midwest and East Coast couldn’t condescend to understand.

This place was dripping with color that parents didn’t want their children to experience, but the children were called to it, out of the gray. The color was dangerous and psychedelic pieced together by broken spirits and whole souls.

On the Muni line, things are mostly gray and its underground tunnels glow black with strips of nuclear light passing through its vacant corridors.

The sound looming from its squeaky tracks would be gray if sounds had color. Screeching and crawling through the ears of the train’s inhabitants, it drones onward without personality or kindness.


The commuters are going to work. As the train jerks and stops and jerks and stops, they wonder if they’ll ever get there or if the gray will to eat them up before the day does.

Photo by Marco Krenn on Unsplash

After escaping the loudness of the Muni tunnels, they’ll schlep up gray stairs into a colorless station where the only vibrancy is advertisements for the Amazon Go store. The future is here.

They’ll traipse up a broken escalator tripping over the frozen charcoal grids and think about getting coffee.

Once they are released all they’ll see is gray; gray skies; gray buildings, gray people lauding through the streets asking for change; hustling through crosswalks; buying coffee and searching for color.

All they’ll see is the slick coldness of new construction and the all-consuming fog.

Into the gray, we’ll all go. We’ll wear it. We’ll think it. We’ll live it.

But can we fight it? Or will the gray continue to surround us until the one empty chamber only filled by morose British rock bands, be overwhelmed and trap the whole heart?


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Tess F. Stevens

Tess F. Stevens

Hey I'm Tess. I'm a pop-punk musician and social media professional based in the East Bay of California. My EP "Patient 139" is out now. Check me out @tessfstevens on Instagram and Tik Tok. For music, merch, and more visit