We’re having a pretty rough winter here in SoCal.
I mean, yeah, rough winter relatively speaking but it’s still rough.
Don’t think of me as callous or insensitive to what the rest of the country is digging out. I’m used to the different stages of winter memes, starting from when Northern states make fun of Southern States for closing all of mankind when there is a hint of cold — then a few weeks later there are exaggerate pictures of snow or ice usually including beer — finally the pics of weather reports with something like “please no more” tagged to it. I’ve been there, I’ve worn the red badge of courage that says ‘two-hundred inches of snow’ to brag to others for all my life.
It’s just that … I live in California now. If there is one thing you want to count on being good it’s the weather.
This morning, I left the house and noticed that I could see my breath. Turned over the car, ran the wipers, and the dew of the morning was actually frost. Took a look at the thermostat, and it read 34ºF. Like, just a tick above freezing.
This, the first day in a long time that I have actually seen the sun for any period of time.
Yeah, that’s the other side of the winter weather that we put up with, rain and lots of it. My first winter here in 2017 was one of the wettest; my most used joke was that in the first three months it rained so much that I kept saying “from the sample size of my time here, it rains constantly”. This winter has seen more volume than consistency, but it’s been a wet last couple of months. January we saw nearly a third of the annual rainfall, and February is on course to top that.
Now, one thing I am not shy about is making note that folks around here are world-class complainers. This may actually sound like I am falling into the exact same pattern. Well, granted, I am. Like I keep telling folks around here when I talk about my life in Alaska, you get used to things. Twenty degrees and overcast in Anchorage this time of year we would call ‘beautiful’; yet here it’s more like ‘world ending’.
Truth is, SoCal isn’t made for this weather. I am not saying, we just aren’t tough like cold weather climates, I mean it more literally.
For example, the coffee shop I hang out at most weekends has as much outdoor seating as indoor. I could lay out how inconvenient that could be, there is a secondary impact. With the price of land as it is, this little gimmick is a way to maximize shop space and increase customer demand, not to mention cost savings during the hot months to give customers outdoor relief without increasing air condition costs. In this weather, no one will sit outside, and while some will drop in and leave many just do come in at all. So yeah, for us customers it’s inconvenient that we can’t sit there; but for the store, it’s cutting into their sales.
JPL is a large campus with multiple buildings up and down a hillside. Meetings are planned all over the lab, and it’s taken for granted that much of what we do requires walking around or riding around on open-air carts. Right now, you aren’t sure if what you are carrying will make it safe & dry; but you have little choice to it.
Closer to home, my washer and dryer are in my detached garage. It’s hard to bring in the dry laundry when it’s pouring rain. Sure, two years ago I thought it was quirky that my laundry was in another building; but it’s actually common for laundry to be outside the main house down here. Where I grew up in Wisconsin, we had great times in the backyard during the summer. Yet, to be honest, we saw that as a treat of that time of the year. Around here, your backyard is as much part of your life as your dining room. When I have friends over, we don’t sit inside.
Yet, this isn’t ‘Mitch Problems’. This is what I mean when I say this world wasn’t not built for this weather.
So, forgive me if I complain a little.
Besides – misery may love company, but it craves attention.