Rainy and Complainy
As it’s been raining, (good thing) and it’s also overcast, (OK thing) it mostly has blocked out the sun (not my favorite thing). I must have that S.A.D. thingy, because, even though I live in an area which has over 300 sunny days per year, once the sun disappears for more than 10 minutes, I feel abandoned and mistreated. It’s particularly scary when the rainy mists cause the mountains to disappear! I know many people live happy lives in places like Norway and North Dakota, but I shudder to think, were it I.
I grew up in San Francisco, famous for its fogs, in a neighborhood which had more of them than other parts of the city. Although S.F. is a beautiful city, (hills; views; parks; bays) my childhood memories are colored in gray. Gray pavement; gray buildings; gray weather. No wonder I enjoyed exhibits of hippie buses, pop art, and the crayon-box revivals of Victorian architecture. I craved color, light, and warmth, and I still do.
I went to summer daycamp in Golden Gate Park. In July. Did I mention it was summer? Other parts of my country, including the one I live in now, would be sweltering in the heat and often humidity as well. We had the humidity all right—fog! The fog was bone-chillingly cold, and wet, and soggy. I’ve since spent six winters in a place where it snows, and although it was, technically, colder there, it didn’t sink into the bones the way a San Francisco summer fog could. When Mark Twain famously commented (or perhaps not; this may be one of those urban myths) that “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”, he wasn’t kidding.
It seems kind of funny to remember how, at camp, the first thing we’d do is build a fire, ostensibly to cook our lunch, but we’d huddle around it until our counselor insisted we run about and play games. This got us a bit warmer, and we were usually good for an hour or so to do crafts and such.
We cooked the darndest things for lunch, too. Have you ever made peach cobbler over a campfire? We did. Along with roasted potatoes (yum), ears of corn, of course, and various kinds of stews and soups. Years later, when I was a daycamp counselor myself, I was amazed that we were expected to take the kids to the beach one day. The beach? What were they supposed to do there? The water was much too cold to go into. They could build sand castles until their little fingers would start to turn blue. They could search for shells; always clammy even if not clam shells. They could sit on our beach blanket, cast on top of a plastic tarp so the cold damp would not seep through, and nibble at the picnic lunch we’d brought.
The odd thing was that, just a few miles away, “over the bridge” as we would say, meaning the Golden Gate, of course, was another land. Sunny; warm; with cool ocean breezes, and beaches worthy of the name. This was like Wonderland to me, or perhaps Emerald City. Even in some other parts of the city—the Marina district, for instance—there were tolerable beaches and weather. Golden Gate Park is magical in the autumn, sneaky in the spring, and completely impossible in the summer. So, why did we go there? It was walking distance from our houses. The camp was for the neighborhood kids, and didn’t have the funds to bus them about; we walked everywhere.
Although I often wonder if I’ll live out my days here in the desert near Tucson, I know that as long as I remain, I’ll never complain about the appallingly hot summers (it’s just starting to cool down from a few weeks of daily temperatures of 102-107F (38-42C). The heat is worth it, for the most part, in order to stay warm and see the sun.
I had no, or not much, intention of writing about the weather today, for heaven sake. I don’t like to write “complainy” posts very much; what I did intend to write about was actually computer related. So what happened? A lot is on my mind. I’m looking back at some of the places I’ve lived, in order to capture the essence of the things I liked most, in order to catalogue those things, and, perhaps, get a better sense of the qualities I most value in a living environment.
This post, though, is more about some of the things I didn’t like! My next post ought to be about what I did like about living in S.F. (there were many things!), or, about one of the other, very different places I’ve spent some time, or, about the computer-related things I planned to write about today.
I’ll pick and choose and see which is the most immediate when I write again. Until then, tootle-loo, and stay warm—or cool—and peaceful.