It’s official…I can no longer call myself a northern California insider.
For years, I prided myself on driving around San Francisco’s treacherous and notoriously hilly streets and finding someplace to park without having to go into rip-off parking structures. I knew the best times to take the cable cars to avoid the tourist throngs. If friends wanted to know about a great Indian restaurant in the East Bay or a Japanese one in San Jose, I could recommend one immediately. Discounts to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk? Come see me…I’ll tell you how to snag them.
Now the time has come where I can’t offer that knowledge with confident authority.
Because I went to TripAdvisor and actually read reviews about a sightseeing activity in San Francisco, where we will be in about 30 hours from now. I then went to Facebook and asked friends “What should I do now in City with my kids and mom-in-law?” and got back some solid suggestions.
Doesn’t sound like a big deal, huh? Well, to me it is.
I shouldn’t have to rely on social media sites to find out where to go and what to do in the place I grew up for 18 years, and lived for six more later on. But I’ve been far removed from Northern Cal now, collectively about 21 years if I count my time in Southern California, Arizona and now Colorado. While I do return at least twice a year to the area, I don’t know a lot of things I used to know as a resident and native.
So now I have to find out things I used to keep stored in my memory. It’s quite humbling.
Or is it?
I’m wondering if this is the new normal – not just for visitors, but for residents as well. In other words, does a San Franciscan look up something on TripAdvisor, Facebook or Yelp, just like a tourist would, to find out if some local attraction is worth spending precious money and time? Or are they like me, and take on this weird snobbery of just being in the know?
Just as a point of reference, I don’t do this for local Denver attractions. Therefore, I think I have a valid argument. Either way, I’m at a bit of a loss today.