San Francisco, CA. I was walking through the financial district at quarter to eight this evening. I looked up and saw into a second-floor gym. From behind every window stared out a glazed-eyed person in their 20s or 30s, exercising on machines which simulated running, skiing or cycling.
It was a warm, sunny July evening. Earlier, I’d enjoyed a wonderful fifty-minute run that had taken me past Lombard Street, to Aquatic Park and Fisherman’s Wharf, along the historic piers to the Ferry Building. I’d had spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge. Finally, I’d raced a cable car up the harsh incline of California to Grace Cathedral. It was a real privilege to be able to run for free through one of the world’s most beautiful cities on such an evening.
Why pay through the nose to lock yourself up in an air-conditioned, artificially lit gym to simulate exercise, when less than 200 yards away you could enjoy the run I enjoyed? Why bother to pay a premium to live in San Francisco? If you like your office environment so much that you choose to exercise in it, and if you have no poetry in your soul, then there’s a place for you 350 miles south of here — it’s called LA, and I suggest you move there.