Iowa: The new SF

Have I been waiting all this time for a line like this to come into my brainspace? Thank you to newspaperman Phil Bronstein for pointing this out.

As a San Francisco-o-phile living in Iowa, I felt some deep churning in my belly when I read these words from Bronstein yesterday (thanks Jamie for sending this out). He attributes this to the recent gay marriage decision by the Iowa courts, and to the presidential visit for Earth Day in nearby Newton, Ia. Read the entire text of Bronstein’s yap here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/bronstein/detail?entry_id=38933&tsp=1

There are some significant differences between Iowa and San Francisco, however, that I’d like to point out.

1) Weather: Just an example of the sheer extreme of Iowa weather, last weekend when it was 30 mph winds in Des Moines and about 50 degrees, two of my San Francisco girls were sunbathing at Ocean Beach, enjoying record heat in Fog City. Not only that, but the -30 degree temps in January and February would make any San Francisco hibernate all winter long. ALL winter long. Twain said the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. That may be true if you’re living in the Sunset, but not true if you’ve ever lived through an Iowa winter. I guess Hannibal, Mo., never got that cold.

2) People: While Des Moines is relatively diverse–there are many immigrant populations that are more or less separated from everyday white culture–the population here is homogeneous. Puting race aside, even the fashion sense is homogeneous. It reminds me a bit of San Luis Obispo–lots of khakis and polo shirts, and when a punker strides by with a dog collar, tatoos and leather pants, it is a sight to behold. In San Francisco, someone dressed in khakis and a polo would be the sight to behold. Unless, of course, you’re in Nob Hill or Pac Heights.

3) Cost of Living: I bought my house in Des Moines for the price of a minimal down payment in San Francisco. An entire, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house! Not kidding. Oh, in a nice neighborhood.

4) Food: I miss San Francisco food every day. Where else, besides maybe another major city like New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Los Angeles, could you walk down any street, hop in the nearest eatery and treat yourself to a fantastic meal, snack, slurp or what have you. It’s a pleasure you only really can fully appreciate when you don’t have that ability. Des Moines is getting better–there are smatterings of Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and BBQ around, but nothing is quite up to par. And there is little emphasis on local, organic or non-meat-centric food. A tough place to be for a foodie or a food-conscious vegan (though I am not, or I’d be a size 0).

I can go on and on with this list, it seems, but I will leave you with this thought: If Iowa is the new San Francisco, it’s time to invest in real estate before flyover country becomes the center of the new world.

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