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April 15, 2024

Fair-Weathered Life

By Lydia Manx

I have found that one of the first things we talk about to strangers is the weather. Anything from the casual 'nice day' greeting to a full out venting about the heat, the cold, the rain or lack of rain all become part of our daily exchanges. As a Southern California gal, I constantly have phone conversations with folks in the frozen East or Midwest during the winter months. Lately, we have been getting hammered by cold weather, so much so that our governor has declared some disaster areas, and record losses in the billions. Yeah, that was billions with a 'B'.

A typical call usually has me empathizing with one of my directors about the snow, floods and storms while not mentioning it is a nice 70 degree day in the middle of December. I have lived in climates other than California, so I really do understand. But I also know that folks who just finished shoveling four inches of wet snow in a gray freezing yard don't want to hear about the surf breaking in the distance, and my wearing sandals to work. As for 'winter' jackets mine are in storage. I get by with a light sweat jacket for the 'real' cold days -- which thankfully are few and far between most winters.

This winter decided to show up with normal enough beginnings. Nothing exotic or unusual in the first few days, other than it had got a bit colder. Nobody said much on the news about weather predictions -- other than the usual talking heads mistakenly saying we would get rain when we didn't and not a word when we did. Totally normal for the weather 'forecasters' whom I always picture staring at the screens and monitors asking, "Hey, what's that dot there? Anyone think it is a cloud? Oh, wait, that's a bit of Bob's bagel and cream cheese. Never mind." Then they walk past the window where rain is pelting the glass and give their forecast.

"Yes, it is going to be a lovely day for a bike ride. Clear skies and a nice offshore breeze will make it great picnic weather. Back to you, Sally." Then he straightens his tie and misses the anchors pointing to the window behind them with water running down in rivulets.

That is pretty much the standard for weather forecasting locally. They are always shocked when the weather is anything other than clear and nice. Not a tough market from what I see, but then ninety-nine percent of the time that is the weather for Southern California. So I always figure that gives them a fifty-fifty chance of being right during the winter. This winter hasn't been fitting the normal pattern. In the past few weeks we have broken records for lowest temperatures going back thirty, forty and fifty years. It lightly snowed in the 'city' not the main city but outskirts of town that rarely see snow. (Living in a beach community I didn't get any snow.)

I don't live in Malibu. They got snow. So now what is that considered I wonder? Would that be construed as "Hell froze over"? I mean I know that quite a few folks consider Malibu just this side of a corrupt hell hole. But what would People Magazine and the National Enquirer do without such star spotting places?

Last month I used my space heater maybe six or so times. My dad freaked when he got the gas and electric bill and claimed it had to do with ME using the heater. I was good and didn't point out the holiday Disney lights, the two trees lit, a giant blow up globe in yard and their central heater roasting the house for the month (my side of the house doesn't get any of that heat due to the addition has no fan to blow the heat through the system). So I decided to not use the space heater at all. Just use my comforters, flannels sheets, and personal body heat. Not being totally foolish I invested a whole $7 or so for a small battery run temperature-humidity gauge. This way I could see if it was below forty degrees and I would turn on my space heater with the remote before I got out of bed and froze parts off.

It has come close. The past week I have seen 41 and 42 degrees inside my room. Outside I have scraped off very pretty ice that nearly looked like snow on my car. Okay, that is wrong in so many ways I can't begin to explain. I live on a street that is cut into a hill. California is not equipped for anything remotely snow related down here. We like our snow safely up on top of the pretty mountain ranges in the distance. Freezing temperatures froze crops and is busy killing off the avocado crops. If we get snow I am not setting a foot outside my front door. I have no desire to watch folks spin down the hill with their SUVs and implanted cell phones.

So when you see on the news that it snowed down in Southern California find me online because I won't be heading outside.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-01-29
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