Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius announced today that he’s moved back to San Francisco (District Six) after 20 years in the suburbs. That news isn’t remarkable (other than the fact that it deprives the Bay Guardian of part of their favorite nickname for Mr. Nevius — “suburban twit“), but this passage was:
The next act of the script was the same for many of us. We met a life partner and started a family. A baby arrived, so instead of meeting people while walking the dog, you talked to other parents pushing a stroller.
And then the game-changer – the factor that probably drives more young couples out of the city than anything else. It’s not panhandlers, the crime, or noise, or traffic. It is the curse of the third bedroom.
It isn’t actually true that units with three bedrooms don’t exist. That’s just how it seems. The prices are shocking, the selection is minimal, and the schools are an enigma. And it finally dawns on you that for less than what you are paying in San Francisco, you could live in the suburbs and not only have a third bedroom, but a yard, private parking and warm summer days.
The next thing you know you’re eating at Applebee’s and reminiscing about that great little pasta place in the city where the owner remembered your name.
“The schools are an enigma.” I’ll accept that, especially since I’ve read worse so many times in the past (often in the Chronicle!). I’m sure Mr. Nevius will eventually write something about the schools that I’ll take issue with, but today, I want to thank him for forgoing the cheap shot. Merriam-Webster lists one of the defintitions of enigma as “something hard to understand or explain.” I actually think that’s a reasonable way of describing our school system here in San Francisco: there are many places where our kids are getting a good and even great education, and I’ll also grant that quality is uneven and our enrollment process is complex and difficult to understand.