In honor of KQED Pop’s 50 year anniversary, we’re interviewing San Franciscans who have been readers from the very beginning, when it launched in February 2013. Today: Jessica Goldberg, 74 years old.
How has your day-to-day life stayed the same since 2013?
Well, I still rely on my daily selfie. I’ve tried to quit, but it’s not like I can just look in the mirror and see what I look like — my hair is parted on the other side. And how is my family supposed to see what I look like if I don’t post a selfie?
We only had a few filters back then, and we loved them. I could look at a friend’s photograph and say, “Oh, that’s Toaster. That’s Willow.” And that would mean something, you know? Things weren’t customizable. I’ll always remember how good my skin looked in Valencia.
How has your day-to-day life changed since 2013?
I’m glad that all the phones are holograms now. With my age, I was having a lot of trouble taking out my iPhone at dinner. My hands are arthritic and just last year I dropped it into my soup. It was very embarrassing.
Oh, what else? Well, I spent most of my time in my 20s and 30s carefully photographing each meal I ate — pushing the dirty napkins aside to better highlight that morning’s latte art and sustainable breakfast potatoes. It truly was a skill I honed, and I can now look back at each and every Petaluma egg.
How has San Francisco changed?
Well, there are a lot fewer terrariums now. It used to be that you could look around and spot a terrarium within 25 feet. It was very comforting, knowing that all those plants were mostly enclosed in glass. You’d see a lot of shutters, too, with plants inside them. It was our way of making peace with nature. Even if you killed every plant in that window shutter, at the end, you’d have one fantastic shutter. Or with the terrariums, a tiny fish bowl. But no one could really tell when those air plants were dead anyway.
How has fashion changed?
What I truly miss are the darling mustaches we all sported. Nowadays, kids are so serious, with their Google Ray Bans and genetically modified iPads. I remember when the secret to looking hip was sporting a mustache from the 1890s. And if you were a lady looking for a mustache of your own, why, you could just find one on a stick in a photo booth — those things were everywhere — or tattoo one on the inside of your finger to hold in front of your face when the spirit moved you.
Who were your favorite celebrities?
I followed several prominent cats on Vine and Instagram. One time, I went to a gallery opening and met one — you probably don’t know her — Lil’ Bub. She was known mainly for her arresting open mouth. Sadly, she died that Christmas from eating tinsel. Celebrity lifespans are so short now!
What’s timeless about San Francisco?
Of all the things my husband and I had at our wedding — the mason jars, the Instagram hashtag, the assortment of tiny pies — only one thing still looks timeless to me today, and that’s the kale chips. It’s made me realize that no matter how many gold rushes this city sees, kale will always be in style.
Where can we find you these days?
Oh, you can see me zipping around The Mission in my fixed-gear wheelchair. I am part-owner of one of the only non-virtual popups on Valencia street. We sell organic vegan gluten-free chocolate mustaches and PBR in its original can.
What do you miss most about the early 2000s?
Push notifications. They just made everyday life very exciting.
Hydra is comprised of comedy writers, Chelsea Larsson, Alani Foxall, and Olivia Kingsley. They have performed with SF Improv Fest, EndGames Improv, The Leftovers, Speechless, and Uqaqua. Illustrations by Chelsea Larsson.