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The People's Guide: Beth Spotswood and Her Suburban Mission

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The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour o' the nabes, lead by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, and other luminaries of our choosing. Have a piece to say? We'll be happy to hand over the megaphone. This week, we welcome Beth Spotswood, Chronicle blogger and head writer and co-anchor of the political satire web show, Necessary Conversation.

Neighborhood: Suburan Mission. I think I once heard someone call it "Media Gulch." Weird.

Tell us something we don't know about your neighborhood: Once you go east of South Van Ness, it's a whole different Mission. We're like the suburbs of 16th and Valencia.

Local customs of note: Placing one's boombox to one's window and sharing 1960's do-wop with one's entire block, saying hello to everyone one passes on the sidewalk, marveling at the line outside of flour+water, gardening, trick-or-treating, Christmas decor 12 months a year, passive-agressive anonymous note-leaving, printed beautifully in really great fonts (see photo).

Hidden gems in the your neighborhood: Dirty Thieves, the street food festival (is hardly hidden), my morning walk to Precita Park (which is probably, technically Bernal Heights), men playing soccer on the old basketball courts, the apricot oat scone at Atlas Cafe, my neighbor's garage where I vote, and St. Francis Fountain's "the poor man" which is chicken-vegetable soup served over a biscuit. It's $4.50, and cures hunger, sniffles and broken hearts.

Are your neighbors "Rotten Neighbor" worthy? If so, dish. If not? well, why not? I have two kinds of neighbors: Friendly families that have lived on our block for generations, remember my name and make sure I get in okay when I come home late at night. And people for whom the word gentrification (pronounced with disgust) was invented. One of my neighbors drives a Vespa, wears a fedora, worked for (impressive pause) Gavin Newsom, refers to himself as a "foodie", goes to Burning Man and snidely asks me about my "gossip column" while leaving angry letters for our postal worker taped to the mailbox. Need I go on?

Inflate the bubble or burst it: What's not so-swell about your "perfect" neighborhood? Please see above. Also, it's pretty quiet out here. We do not have the lively night-time action of the Inner Mission. Which is normally nice, but every once in awhile, I could use 300 people outside my window.

The final word on your neighborhood: Blossoming, blooming even! Vespa guy is moving anyway. So it's only getting better.
· The People's Guide [Curbed SF]
· Photo courtesy Beth Spotswood