Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yelpers are Usually Right

I've grown almost completely dependent on YELP.COM. I won't try a new place (business, restaurant, city park etc) unless I check it out on Yelp first and I feel like it has had an adequate enough rating from other people. It's almost an obsession at this point, but at the same time it has opened the door to such delicious eateries as Luna Park Cafe and Julie's Liquor and Deli in Brisbane. Some good craft stores as well. The user review based website is the perfect place to look if you need a hairstylist, want a tattoo, are about to move or have just moved. Or if you're like me and you haven't taken the initiative to go out and "meet" the city on your own.

I wish we would have yelped housing complexes in San Francisco BEFORE we moved here, because if I had I read the reviews of The Villas at Park Merced we probably would have kept looking. Because I would have seen that of eighty reviews on a scale of one-to-ten, Park Merced gets an average 1.5 stars.

The first sentences of the entries read like this:

-This apartment complex is not even worthy of a negative review, that is how bad my experience was with them.

-Park Merced is a classic shit-hole.

-I don't even want to give them any stars... but since i have to, the star is dedicated to the fact that i don't live their any more!

-This place is a shit hole.

-I don't have horror stories like some other people, but After living here 6 months I am leaving.


-if i could find a cheaper place anywhere close to campus, i would. unfortunately i couldn't, so i am stuck in this place that sucks fat hairy midget balls.

-This place is absolutely horrible

-GOD HELP ME! The one star I am forced to give this place is all for the grass and the grounds.

-I've lived here for four years and have had a tantamount of problems

-I'm lucky to be able to say that I've never lived here. Having spent my last four years at SFSU I know a lot of suckers who did live here and paid dearly.


-Everyone else sums it up pretty well. Don't live here. Just don't. You'll regret it.

-Living in a townhouse at the villas was basically glorified camping.

When I read all of these today I'm not sure whether I felt depressed that I was living amongst the utter dissatisfaction of my neighbors or if it was the sweet reassurance I needed to solidify what I've known all along. This place blows.

It took a year or two before we really realized how much it sucked. Mold in the bathroom and a ceiling that pealed paint. A dishwasher planted in such a way that you cannot stand at the sink AND load the dishwasher at the same time. The insanely bad water pressure in the shower. Screen-less windows. Dated kitchen. White washed EVERYTHING.

I know, I know - You're wondering why we don't just move. Pack up. Ship out. Get the fuck out of Dodge. Sure, moving is a pain, but it might be worth it in the end?

What's funny is that every 7 or 8 months Jon and I go through that exact discussion. We get all riled up. We swear to each other that this is the time that we mean it, come hell or high water we will get out of this place.

But the plain truth is, we never do. The pets, the money and the commute to work are always the main factors in staying. This place has us tied down like bad credit card debt. So we settle back in and forget for at least a few weeks that living here is like serving a sentence. Together, thankfully. But a sentence none the less.

In thinking about this post on my way home from work, I wondered how I could leave it on a high note. I mean, what's there to say about a shitty townhouse? At least it's home? I stepped up to our front stoop and as I approached I noticed that the sidewalk beside our door was blooming snap dragons. After years of watering my plants on the steps above, the concrete is now sprouting these gorgeous little flower blooms all along the crack. And it did feel like home. It might just be enough to know that eventually I'll be leaving the place a little prettier than I found it.

(Don't move here though.)