Sunday, September 26, 2010

Don't Call it Frisco

I'm very proud of my San Francisco roots. My great-grandparents came to SF in the 1870s. My grandmother lived through the 1906 earthquake and I remember her stories of what it was like. My father was born and raised in an area of the city then known as "Butchertown." It wasn't because it was a rough neighborhood (although, sadly, it is now). It referred to the large proportion of butcher shops in the area. It was predominately French. So much so that the neighborhood church had Sunday masses in French.

The SF Bay Area is a mecca for people who want to work in high tech or are searching for a more diverse community. Those of us who are born and raised her are something of a rare breed. One place where I worked I was on a team of 12 and I was the only one who was from here. Everyone else had relocated from another part of the US or another country.

I adore the SF Giants and am a Niners fan (even though they suck). I have great memories of raiding SF when I was in high school. We'd borrow a car and drive around the city. Dancing under the rotunda at the Palace of Fine Arts. Picnics at Land's End. One memorable night we stole a whole bunch of orange cones, blocked off the top of Lombard Street and drove up. Yes, we drove UP Lombard Street.

San Francisco is my city. And I hate it when people call it Frisco. Nearly as bad is when they call it San Fran. Would it kill you to add the other two syllables? Calling it SF is acceptable. Here it's merely called "the City." If you say "there's this great Basque restaurant up in the City" nobody would ask "what city?"

But people (mostly sports announcers who, in spite of their annoying-ness, still qualify as people) insist on Frisco or San Fran. No. Bad announcers! No cookie!

I'm not sure if other cities have this problem. Most of them don't get abbreviated the way SF does. Husband is a Philadelphia native and he's fine with "Philly." Other cities seem to have nicknames rather than abbreviations. And people seem to be OK with them. Folks in New Orleans don't get peeved when you refer to it as "the Crescent City." Detroit is proud of their "Motown" label. Chicagoians use "the windy city" themselves. (By the way, did you know that doesn't refer to the wind? It's because politicians from that city were very long-winded while pleading their case to host the World's Fair back in the 1880s.) But they don't have annoying shortening of their names that pisses off the locals.

So please, don't call it Frisco.


Kittie Howard said...

Double promise, cross my heart and hope to die! 'cause Yankees call New Orleans, New Orleenz, oy! Like nails on a board!

My 503 computer problem is more complicated than I had thought *sigh*

Decca said...

My old buddy Benjie was something like 8th generation New Orleans and he always called it something vaguely resembling N'awlins.