A Guest Post:
Written by Thomas Banks/Pugz/HTB
I miss the change of seasons.
I must admit I feel a little like a character in The Walking Dead or Mad Max this morning, is anyone even out there today? No worries, I do my best work when no one is watching and anyone could care less. I’m basically sending out a blog to a group of readers who are still using candlelight to see and because they have no power, have been forced to spend quality time with their families for days at a time. Urgh. I could make a joke about how much $$ one of you would pay for a generator, just to be able to flip the TV on and get the kids out of your hair for an hour, but I imagine after a night in the basement, tensions are running pretty high. I myself had to wait on line at CVS out here in Newport Beach almost 10 minutes last night for a Peanut Butter Twix and a box of Emergen-C, I think I’m getting a tickle in my throat. I feel your pain East Coast, things are tough all over. Stay strong.
As an East Coast transplant out here in sunny Southern California I sometimes run into people who have settled from the East as well. Usually at times like these, a hurricane terrorizing the Eastern seaboard, us transplants will give each other a smile and say the toast that the State of California taught us the first few days we lived out here. “California. You can’t beat the weather.”
It’s so good that people who aren’t from California have to make up an excuse just to pretend we wish we were back East. The conversation is always the same:
Where are you from?
How long have you been out here?
What is the deal with the people out here?
Why doesn’t anyone care about sports?
Why doesn’t anyone use their blinkers when changing lanes?
Do you miss it back East at all?
Now here is where the conversation changes and we all tell each other the same lie.
“I love the weather, but you know, I miss the change of seasons. I miss snow or rain once in awhile.”
Then you agree and say, “I miss the change of seasons as well. It would be nice if we had a little bit of a Fall or Winter in Cali.”
Of course, all anyone means is that we would like the leaves to change and for it to be cold a few mornings so that we remember to do Christmas shopping or to have a reason to have 3 boxes of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate with the little marshmallows in the pantry. If I actually had to deal with snow and shoveling snow and sitting in miles of traffic because of rain or snow I would probably be bartending in Montville somewhere. (That’s a small, crappy town in NJ by the way – sorry to all Montville residents, but you know it’s true) No one in their right mind wishes for snow and freezing rain. Except maybe those damn snowboarders, but they’re on their own program.
The weather is so good in California that it has a strange effect on people. It makes you soft. The first year I lived in California I had an apartment with a pool in the center of the complex. It was a lot like Melrose Place, only replace constant struggles for power using sex, drugs and violence with a pale, somewhat lumpy version of Billy Shue (that would be me) and an old lady who would call the Home Owners Board when she saw me in the pool because she didn’t think I lived there and you’ve got my situation. I guess she thought I was pool hopping every day. Ahh old people, at least they are the same everywhere.
I would do laps, and by laps I mean, I would swim a few laps become completely exhausted and spend the rest of the time trying to balance my can of Bud Lt on my stomach in a floaty so I wouldn’t have to swim to the side for every sip. I moved out to Cali in October and since it was around 60 degrees and I had a pool, I went swimming. Neighbors would literally come outside with sweatshirts and towels to make sure I was OK. They couldn’t understand someone swimming in such cold water. They thought I was nuts and I thought they were all nuts, its 60 degrees outside!
That was a few years ago. Today I keep a sweater in my Jeep in case it gets cold at night and recently started shutting my bedroom window at night because it’s getting to be that time of year…
So as I watched news reports from all over the Tri-State area in the past few days I couldn’t help but feel empathy for those stocking up. On the East Coast, people were buying generators, loading up on food, supplies and coordinating plans for where they would wait out the storm. People were descending on their local Target like an angry mob after the King verdict.
In desperate times like these you need to get to Target, work through your supply list and get the hell out. During California’s bad weather period, called The June Gloom, my local Target is a zoo. If you don’t get there right when it opens you have almost no chance of getting the good beach chairs or the spray on suntan lotion. Get there late and you’ll spend your whole Summer on a plastic chair that collapses in the sand and sunblock you have to slather on yourself like weather-stripping. Good luck getting all of your back covered. I walk around all Summer with a sunburned middle back because of the spots I just can’t reach. That and the fact that I could get a sunburn from a 100watt light bulb. One of the old energy burning kind, not the squiggly, energy saving new kind, I think I’m alright with those.
For those asking, “HTB, what is the June Gloom?” I’ll just say, first of all, don’t interrupt me and second it is a very scary weather incarnation that happens in the summer months. I’m not a meteorologist so I can’t give you the technical names of everything, but June Gloom is basically this: During the summer months a cloud cover moves in during the sunrise/morning hours. This cloud cover hangs in the air preventing the sun from completely bursting through until about 11AM. So from the hours of 8AM till 11AM in May, June and July residents of California are forced to see cloudy skies until almost lunchtime! I’ll say it again so the true horror of it really hits home. It isn’t really sunny until almost lunchtime for a full 3 months!! And you think your local grocery store was bare this weekend? Imagine a grocery store in a town where it doesn’t get sunny until almost noon. It’s total anarchy. It’s just through the grace of God and the kindness of strangers that more people aren’t hurt.
So to all my East Coasters, let’s try and keep each other in our prayers tonight and hope everyone makes it through whatever tough weather situations they are in. Then maybe get yourself a flight out to Cali and see why no one out here even owns an umbrella or a generator. Unless of course all you Moms are still sticking to the story of: The family huddled together in sleeping bags in the living room is creating memories. We all know that what you really want is to be stuck somewhere with your girlfriends pounding wine and laughing about how your husbands have to deal with the kids by themselves for a few days. You’re not fooling anyone ladies.