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Beer

after the night by punchup on flickr

photo by punchup on flickr

We here at The Rhodester Chronicles are authorities on the subject of surviving in San Francisco when you’re broke, because we live in San Francisco, we’re surviving and we’re currently broke.

Granted, not completely — we have some income, albeit not much. But we’re not sitting in a gutter wrapped in dread and a tattered blanket, bumming cigarettes from passers-by.

Not yet, anyway.

We’ve learned how to stretch a dollar which is often all we have, so in this post we are going to share some of this insight and help you survive in San Francisco when you’re broke.

There are a few things to know first..

SAN FRANCISCO IS EXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN

Hideously so. We are temporarily staying in a shabby hotel at a room rate of $220.00 per week. The bathroom is down the hall. The showers are past that. Everyone on this floor uses them including our immediate neighbor, who seems to have a drinking problem.

He likes to shout out the window (right next to ours) at young women passing by in the evenings, calling them “whores.” We totally expect an irate boyfriend to make his way up here some evening and get the wrong door, which would be ours, and then kill us.

He also tends to bang on the window grate while hocking loogies out onto the sidewalk, but please bear in mind that all of this only comes after a session of binge drinking on his part. During the early-morning hours and well into the afternoon, he slumbers peacefully which makes it nice and quiet around here.

Well, except for when the guys in the gym below come out onto the sidewalk under our window and talk loudly about sparring matches and kick-boxing. And when the dog across the street barks, which is all day long.

And then there are the sirens. Constantly. We take heart that they’re not coming for us.

Yet.

This building was erected in 1907 which means we’re really moving up in the world, because the other hotel we lived in when we first came here was built in 1906. We figure that if we’re lucky, we’ll eventually get into one that was built during the Eisenhower administration.

This room has a little refrigerator, a microwave, a sink and we even have a color TV. Oh yes, we have an Internet connection too, which is how we’re posting this. Except I think the Internet router was installed when they built the place.

We’re literally rolling around in the lap of gritty luxury.

Other rooms in grander hotels might actually have their bathrooms and shower stalls in the same unit being rented and neighbors that don’t scream well into the night, but those run about two thousand a week and to even qualify for them you need bright, shiny credit that can be seen by astronauts.

Of course, one would ideally like to rent or buy a house, condo or apartment here.

Buying a place to live is out of the question for us at this time, because we couldn’t get a mortgage on a six-pack of beer. So we’ve been looking for something to rent, but the problem with that is there are a million other people looking for something to rent while we’re looking, and they all answer the same ads we do and show up at the same places we do and compete for the same apartments and rooms that we want.

Because of this demand, rentals tend to run about five times more in this city than they would in, say, a small town in Texas.

The only good news, aside from the fact that we don’t live in Texas, is that jobs in San Francisco pay higher than the national average. It’s true! There is a higher minimum wage than the state and people get paid more, because everyone knows how ridiculously  expensive it is to be a citizen of this great city.

Now, if we could only GET a job here!

So, the first thing to do in order to survive in San Francisco when you’re broke, is..

LOWER YOUR STANDARDS

Sure, it’s nice to shuffle off to your very own private bathroom when you actually have one. Here, we get dressed and shuffle down the hall, passing other residents who are shuffling back. We toss little waves at each other and grunt pleasantries while on our way to pee.

This is acceptable to us because of the great coffee we’re peeing out. We drink it in our choice of great coffeehouses. There is art and decent music and cool people and neat things to see while we drink that coffee, depending on where we go. We could hit a different coffeehouse every day and not have to come back to any for a few years.

This is why people like living here, including us.

The greatness isn’t limited to coffeehouses though.. there are parks and trains and bridges and galleries and bars and fine restaurants and ships on a bay. We even have weather here — lots of it — which changes every few minutes. It’s a never-ending tapestry of fluffy clouds followed by dark ones and then sunshine, followed by an earthquake or two, and that’s all before lunch.

If the weather in San Francisco were a prime-time network drama, ABC would cancel it immediately, it’s that exciting!

Sure, it would be nice to have a lot of money and live in San Francisco like some people do, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s not about the eight-hundred thousand dollar condos with the four-hundred dollar a month HOA fees and parking for only one-hundred and twenty dollars a month.

It’s about not having a car to park so you take public transit, and not having HOA fees because you just pay your rent and the building management takes care of all the maintenance stuff, sort of, if you catch them early in the day when they’re sober.

Again, you just need to LOWER YOUR STANDARDS.

You also need..

THE SUPPORT OF GOOD FRIENDS

Our good friend James at Men With Pens bought us a six-pack of beer the other day, and she doesn’t even live in San Francisco.

Yes, James is a girl.

We’re not sure if she felt sorry for us or happy that we had accomplished so much despite how difficult it is to live here, but she said, “Go get a six-pack of your favorite beer and I’ll reimburse you on PayPal,” so that’s what we did, except we couldn’t find our favorite beer at the local market and had to settle for Blue Moon, which isn’t bad.

Thanks James!

Beer from JAMES

Beer from JAMES

By the way, James sells books about blogging and freelance writing. We put banners for them at the bottom of this post because we know you want to buy them.

Yes you do, so shaddup.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention another friend, who we’ll call Sebastian. That’s not his real name because we’re going to tell you that Sebastian drinks WAY too much, which he’s quite aware of, but despite that he doesn’t hock loogies on young girls and call them whores, like our neighbor does.

Instead, Sebastian helps us out, like the other day when he helped us out on hotel rent because we were short, which means he gave us his booze money.

He also helped us move our stuff from the first hotel over to this one, which would have been a lot more difficult if we’d had to do it ourselves.

Despite his own struggles, Sebastian is one of those stand-up guys you can count on in a pinch, so we’re glad we met him.

We’ve been fortunate to become acquainted with some other pretty cool people too, like Kelelah the Krazy Hawaiian, Bob the astronomy geek and San Francisco Joe, the troubadour.

We help them too, when we can.

So there you have it. Lower your standards and have good friends. Those are two ways to survive in San Francisco when you’re broke.

We would have gone into detail like how to file for assistance and which markets are cheap yet have good quality food, but we’re fixin’ to blow the head off an Anchor Steam because the Jazz band is about to start playing.

We love San Francisco. It keeps us humble and entertained at the same time.

F-Street car by Rhodester

F-Street car by Rhodester

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An American Post and FREE BEER!

July 2, 2010
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Two hundred and something years ago we were all kicking British butt for the 4th of July weekend, but we’re grown-ups now, so we’re friends and we’ve put all that rough-and-tumble stuff behind us.

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A beginner’s guide to the alcoholic content of beer

April 13, 2010
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Beer has alcoholic comment enough so that you like drinking it and if you have more then you should then you don’t care because you don’t even know how many beers you had like after a few you had.

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The True Meaning Of Labor Day

September 4, 2009
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It’s going to be an interesting evening.

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One or MORE for the ROAD..

March 19, 2008
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Had a slight mishap..

7 comments Read the REST..