html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I love it here.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I love it here.

Anonymous, you are so wrong about Sacramento. I am fully aware of popular image of Sacramento, but it is wrong for two reasons. First, Sacramento’s reputation is outdated; the city has changed enormously since the mid-nineties. Second, you have to live in Sacramento to know how great it is. I chose Sacramento over all other California cities* and I am not a hick who doesn’t know better. I grew up in Los Angeles, have lived in San Luis Obispo and on both sides of the SF Bay. My quality of life in Sacramento is sky high, more gracious and fun and involved than I’ve known anywhere else.

First, a clarification. The periphery of Sacramento is largely new suburbs and whatever you think of suburbs you will think of these. Suburbs are not to my current tastes, but I’m confident that the ones in Sac are no better or worse than any others. There are portions of Sacramento that remind me of nothing so much as the San Fernando Valley, where I grew up. That’s not where I live. I live in Midtown, which is half of the Grid, which is where the numbers and letters streets are. The Grid is the central part of Sacramento, built before cars. Lots of it is beautiful. The houses are mostly Craftsman bungalows and Victorians; many streets are entirely tunneled in tall elms and sycamores.

People who live in big cities say there is nothing to do in Sacramento. Living here, though, isn’t about what you do. It is about people. I can never explain what I do that makes my days so full. But yesterday was absolutely typical. At market Ali and I ran into Mike and chatted with him about his new baby, then saw Andrew and Patricia and thanked them for their party the night before. We came home and spent a lovely couple hours on my porch, eating lunch, pitting cherries for another pie, and laughing at the kitten. Margie stopped by with the baby. Then a nap before Roxie came by to meet the kitten and we went to check out a venue for the league party. Called Chris when I got back; we went to McKinley Park to play catch, where I saw Justin who once took third at Pie Contest. Chris and I went to get burritos, ran into friends of his and joined them for dinner. We stopped by to see his parents, rode our bikes around some more in the full moon and I got to bed late. This isn’t unusual in any way. I see someone I know every time I leave the house.

Summer in Midtown is an easy, constant round of grilling on front porches, going to the park, meeting for drinks, eating on restaurant patios. People who aren’t from here ask if I go to shows or movies, but I can’t imagine when I would do that (unless I knew a band member). And Sacramentans are friendly. You get a smile and ‘evening’ every time you pass someone on the street; porch sitters wave when you walk by; strangers will invite you into parties or join your crowd if the food smells good. Warm Sacramento evenings are lived on the street and they are sublime.

*God knows I’ll never live anywhere east of the Sierras, where the map is blank and there are dragons.

(I’ve got more, but I think this is plenty for now. Tomorrow I’ll talk about how Midtown has changed, why the scale of Sacramento fits me perfectly and why I may have to leave.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, does it rain there?

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I did live in Sacramento, when I worked for Intel. Or, more specifically, I lived in Orangevale, but spent a lot of time in Sacramento itself. I lived there 8 months, my time at Intel was for an internship.

It's not the city part of the bay area I like, it's the proximity to so much fun outdoors stuff I like. It's about 30 minutes to the ocean. Only about an hour to some nice climbing. There's decent hiking 5 miles from my apartment. There's some great hiking no more than an hour away. Great camping, where I can be completely alone, no more than an hour away.

The bay area is a nice middle. I've got really nice restaurants and the like very near by. But, it's a short drive to some nice outdoors areas as well.

But, I do get the knowing people where ever you go thing. That is a nice feeling. I haven't had that since I was in high school. But, then, I am an engineer, and I don't much care for other people a large part of the time. Lost in the woods by myself, or with one other person, is enough fun for me most of the time.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

May have to leave?!? But Sacramento is one of a very small number of places I'm willing to live after DC... and you're one of my reasons!

5:52 PM  
Blogger Ennis said...

The question is, have you settled in a place where most of the young people are married? It might have great quality of life because you're around lots of couples who have come there to put down roots, unlike the bay area which is full of lots of young men who are cycling through to be replaced by yet more young men. The latter condition makes for worse neighborhoods, but better dating for you.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous scottb said...

When you said:

"People who live in big cities say there is nothing to do in Sacramento."

it absolutely reminded me of a quote I heard and will now thoroughly misquote for the benefit of you and your readers...

Someone in a smallish town, on hearing it criticized by some big-city-slicker as "so small you have to make your own fun" cut them off at the knees by saying something along the lines of "of _course_ you have to make your own fun. If you don't make it yourself, then it's called 'entertainment'." Touche!

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot Texas. We're worth some time spent investigating fun stuff. Not to mention the swing dance scene in several major cities...

11:07 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Sacremento's on my list of places I could try living.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous UnderwearNinja said...

Sacramento has been wonderful to me, but I think it's the people. If you moved me, and my friends, to any other part of the country that was within 2 hours from a major city and 2 hours from beautiful mountains I'd be just as happy.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dennis! Move back, move back, move back! Then you can show me and Chris how to make dry ice bombs.

(But the only place I would move to is Oakland, so we might be in the same city anyway.)

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how to make a dry ice bomb.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

But I want Dennis to show us, in the context of lots of people gathered around and giggly anticipation and then everyone scared at the loud noise and then cheering for another bomb.

(Hey Roxie and Ali and Chris, maybe our next party theme should be BOMB!)

11:28 AM  
Blogger Don said...

I want to attend some of your parties... learn to throw better ones of my own :)

1:43 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

You're scaring me, Megan. I chose UCI over UC Davis. And that was after I drove around Sacramento!

9:44 PM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

I have to admit reading you has made me gain a new appreciation for Sac. I could totally see living there. A large fraction of the AFM (my racing club) is from the area and they all seem like swell people.

But I grew up in Tucson. Tucson is quite comparible to what you say about Sac, but with much less interesting people, worse weather, and even more suburbs. Living in SF the noise and action constantly remind me that I got up and left. It reminds me that I'm someplace better and to keep working on reforming my old habits and appreciating my surroundings actively. Any place that remotely seemed like Tucson would give me the willies and I wouldn't be able to really appreciate it. That and the Ocean air makes this desert boy swoon everytime. And, well, the people here often aren't nice per se, but they are often interesting and challenging, and I'll take that over nice anyday.

6:51 PM  
Blogger epileptikitty said...

I grew up in Rancho & Carmichael. Rancho when it was the town of ROCKETS! And Carmichael when it was, well... Are there still horses there?

Haven't lived there since '78. Your experience sounds great, and I'm happy for you, but you're just not selling me. I will admit to surprise when I was there a few years ago for the state fair.

Folk, you must see the California State Fair. It is my favorite childhood memory:

12:03 AM  

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