There's something about a city determined by geography that appeals to me. I don't understand the connection people have to those metropolises that have just been dumped randomly onto an empty plain. Sure, I recognize the practicality of such spaces, but I find them utterly lacking in character. Perhaps it just appears that because of their lack of need to consider the environment around them, these cities aren't quite as conscious of their surrounding. When you are built in a valley or on the shore, the features of the outdoors suddenly become such a necessary part of day-to-day life, whether it be your daily bridge crossing or the hike up the hill to the grocery store.
Sure, more often than not, these realities of the environment are actually a hassle. I have cursed the fact that the mountains and ocean shores in make for a series of awkward bridges, curvy roads and traffic jams in the city I live in, as compared to the convenient bold highways dumped in the middle of prairie cities. And the hills of San Francisco, while picturesque, certainly make for gasps for air, squealing brakes, and aching toes, even without an armload of groceries.
But these hills are just so damn beautiful. I adore how you turn a corner and are suddenly greeted by an unexpected and dramatic view, how the bottom floors of houses are cut into a diagonal by the sidewalk, how the old houses loom above the people walking their dogs below. Perhaps it is from growing up on the sides of a mountain, but hills just feel like home to me somehow.
As I wander about the streets, I am a little insatiable in searching out the details. I feel compelled to peer down every corner and sneak a glimpse into any open backyard, just to make sure I'm not missing something. I feel like I'm playing dress-up, adult-style; instead of wearing a tiara and pretending I am a princess, I masquerade as a local. I ride public transit and decide which coffee shop would be my coffee shop. I start imagining all the things I would do in my new San Francisco life. These include taking naps with my cat in my bay window, growing herbs on my roof, and having serious phone conversations on my front stoop. I even briefly consider taking up smoking in my hypothetical life just for the satisfaction of having a formal reason for climbing out my window onto the fire escape late at night.