Smoking Was Allowed
Dinner last night with Dick and Sam down in Fremont. Sam and his wife have sold their house up in the Oakland hills and will retire to Bend, Oregon in January, although they will telecommute with their current employers for another year. They are both younger than I am and I admit to a certain amount of envy, although I'm not so sure about Bend.
I think I've been there or at least I met one or two people when I first arrived in San Francisco who were fleeing Bend much as I was fleeing Seattle and New York. Bend is in central Oregon, just east on the other side of the Cascade mountains, so it's dry and not too cold. Very pretty from the pictures. Not the first choice for a street photographer, maybe, but still, I took a look at their web site.
You're blue because you can't afford to buy their front sidewalk, let alone that house up in the hills now, aren't you, bucko? says Self with a snicker.
Self will snigger sometimes at the odd inappropriate moment, but I discover if I slap him around a little he straightens up. Besides, I don't believe they live in an area that actually has sidewalks, but that's not important. I couldn't afford to buy either one. It would be nice to live in a house with that kind of view, but I'd grow jaded after a few months and spend my time inside, much as I do now, futzing around with the computers.
I say that and it sounds nice and I nod my head in agreement, but, well, you know, I'd have my desk right up next to the wide plate glass windows overlooking San Francisco bay and I'd look up and I'd smile. I don't know what they sold it for, but Sam mentioned in this market that it went for $100k more than even they expected and I have no doubt they expected a lot.
It all seems to get down to retirement accounts, commuting time and real estate. Fifty some odd years
and it comes to that. I was once in the real estate business through what I now realize was misadventure and I hated it. I wish I'd known then how miserable I was, but you're young, you know, and you really don't know. You just don't. I must have thought everybody felt like a zombie when they were thirty and commuted to work on a cable car. It was something called real estate syndication where you sold shares much as you sell shares of a stock, not unlike a real estate investment trust, only the idea was for the investors to legally avoid paying big chunks of their taxes, and it was in San Francisco and I got to wear a neat three piece Brooks Brothers suit and act like a proper idiot with all kinds of people paying attention. (That last part might not be quite accurate. Paying attention, yes, but to what? And whom? And why?)
I got that first job while I was crashing at the Rip Off Press in an old condemned long ago demolished building near San Francisco City Hall. I didn't invite any of my just out of business school fellow workers home for a drink. Or a smoke, although it was San Francisco and smoking, even in the business world, was allowed.