My new neighborhood is the Lower Haight. Two dozen or so blocks from here is Ashbury street, where the summer of love started 27 years ago. Now, where I live, the streets are divided. The white buildings where the white people live are on one side of Buchanan Street, the black people in the brown projects are on the other. I'm on the white side.
When I got this apartment, I started to get cryptic warnings from everyone around me. "Be careful," they said. "Watch your back."
My building manager gave me a written list when I moved in. "Keep your wits about you when you're outside," it read. "The Projects, which are still with us for now unfortunately, do attract some shady characters. For all of our security, please close doors and be careful of who you buzz inside."
There are two doors between me and the outside and I have to buzz both of them to let someone in. It's like a cultural decompression tank.