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Commentary: Does being a tech couple in SF make you the "baddy"?

Mary Willis
Mary sitting in a parklet on Valencia street.

Mary Willis is a journalist from Australia who moved to San Francisco with her husband when he got a job at Google. She’s also a reporter at KALW. She told her story as part of Crosscurrents’ program on techie buses in San Francisco.

I’ve recently been branded with this new term: techie. I’ve had labels in my life before: journalist, musician, student, even redhead. But this one’s different. I wasn’t quite prepared for this one.

More than a year ago I moved to San Francisco with my husband when he got a job at Google. We always thought of SF as somewhere that was accepting, and we thought of the social history that it had.

When we got here, it was a few weeks later that we started to hear things on the street. My husband started to say that he would get yelled at by passers-by when waiting at the Google bus stop to head down to his job in Silicon Valley. And then there was the gentrification, or the anti-gentrification protest, where protesters hit a pinata of a Google bus with a stick.

Somehow and suddenly we were caught up in this war about the future of San Francisco – and I was the baddy, we were the baddies.

And it got to a stage once where we were out at a bar, and the couple that we were talking to were telling us how much they hated the tech industry, it had pushed up their rents.

And then when they asked us what my husband did, we actually lied and said that we were tourists, because that’s the last thing we wanted to confess.

Click on the audio player above to hear the commentary.