Local Status Pending


I’ve been wondering,

How long does it take to become a local?

You can’t change where you grew up, but how long must you inhabit a city before you say with confidence that you’re a local?

I conducted some highly scientific research by asking 3 friends, and heard a range of opinions; 5 years, 10 years, until you buy a house, and so on. I have decided that Local-Status is not something that happens to you by default, it is instead, something I believe you have to earn.

Following is an activity scorecard that I have assembled (drawing from a vast < 3 years of expertise) that will get you nearly to local status in San Francisco. The last few steps you will have to figure out for yourself.



You may read this list and assume that it is a biographical account of the author’s time in San Francisco, but please: that would not only be correct, it would be against the author’s intent, unscientific, and out him as a petty narcissist. Show some decorum please.


Stuff I’ve done in SF

Crap that’s happened the last few years

How to become a local (San Francisco edition)

  1. Become addicted to award-winning bay area podcast The 99% Invisible, listen to every single episode and rant about it to everyone, all the time. +10 points
  2. Try every ice cream shop in the city. +10 points
  3. Discover you are lactose intolerant. -10 points
  4. Listen to the Serial Podcast like everyone else, and get tired of listening to Sarah Koneig’s voice, like everyone else. +5 points
  5. Subscribe to SF’s “Editor of the Internet’s email newsletter” Nextdraft, justify it as your new aggregator and read their emails religiously so you have current/ interesting/ intelligent-sounding trivia to tell people. +5 points
  6. Confuse the Oakland city crest with the tree of Gondor. -5 points
  7. Entertain the idea of starting a black market avocado pipeline from Santa Cruz (four for a dollar!*) to San Francisco with the help of your friend and their company car. +5 points
  8. Meet a denim-head at your local coffee shop who happens to be working on his own startup, and makes you a pair of custom jeans from scratch. +15 points
  9. Listen to your friends discuss their coding strategies for building their own personal web applications for tracking your church’s year-long Bible reading plan. Understand nothing. +10 points
  10. Talk about going camping for 2 years. Purchase expensive, locally made camping gear. Never actually go. -5 points
  11. Internally judge everyone who doesn’t know how to stand on public transportation** but then stumble epicly in a train full of people. (Repeat 1x per week) -5 points
  12. Discover $1 donuts in the city. +5 points
  13. In your few conversations with your pastor, make fun of his footwear. Feel like a terrible person***. -10 points
  14. Become alarmed by the increasing rate of Peter Pans**** in the city. Fear you are becoming one. -5 points


*Tragically, not Hass.

**The key is to plant your feet sideways, like you’re snowboarding.

***He has Yeezy’s. It’s okay, I already know I’m a sinner.

****Term used to describe men who live in large cities and are averse to growing up and assuming the normal responsibilities of commitment within relationships, instead choosing to prolong the collegiate-like bromance period of life. (See also: ‘Basic’ and ‘YOLO’)