As much as I appreciate living in the Crescenta Valley, one of my biggest reasons for moving away (I’m sure more than a few readers would help pack my bags after last week’s column) would be to live in a cooler, more seasonal climate. I mean, imagine knowing what season we’re in simply by stepping outside instead of having to check the calendar or see how the models are dressed on the cover of the most recent Eddie Bauer catalog.
Nevertheless, according to the mavens of millibars over at the Weather Channel, we are indeed officially in the fall season. Can you feel it? Have you broken out your snuggly sweaters and hot cocoa mix to enjoy after a long walk past frost-covered pumpkin patches? I didn’t think so.
This time of year is most frustrating for me. We don’t have seasons, we have oven settings. My blood pressure rises as commercials interrupt the new TV season that feature happy, ruddy faced New England types walking show-quality Labrador retrievers through a kaleidoscope of autumn leaves, bundled up against the chill in designer parkas, knit caps and fleece-lined gloves.
The operative word in that last sentence is “chill.” As in cold. Nippy. Frigid. Teeth-chattering temperatures. And yet, for natives like me, born in Southern California, land of the 12-month season, fall is just a word on the calendar.
Forget sweaters; this time of year, bathing suits and beach towels are still appropriate.
I don’t care how many times I’m told to be grateful that we live in such a warm, year-round climate. There’s just something fundamentally wrong with shepherding trick-or-treaters around the neighborhood while dressed in shorts and flip flops, or turning on the central air conditioning to cool the house before Thanksgiving dinner guests arrive.
Don’t even get me started on Christmas. Every year our family takes bets on whether Dec. 25 will be cool and drizzly, or hot and smoggy. The latter is usually the safer wager. And that often-wished-for “white Christmas” is likely to be nothing more than ash from the latest wildfire covering our cars.
I can’t get all heated up over our weather without mentioning the crop of ever-perky TV weatherpersons who always forecast “maybe one or two days of unusually warm weather, followed by a rapid cool down.” Translated into California-speak, that means we’re in for an extended heat wave of insanely intolerable temperatures that will go on for a week or longer before dropping into the merely miserable range for most of the next month.
But then, being a TV weatherperson in Southern California means never having to say you’re sorry. For example, as I write this, the Southland is in week two of a near-record-breaking heat wave with daily high temperatures in or near the triple digit range. And yet, when this particular high pressure cooker began simmering back at the beginning of last week, every weather wizard on TV said — see if this sounds familiar — “We’ve got a day or two of warmer temps coming, and then we’ll be right back to normal or even below-normal by the end of the week. Look for a gorgeous, comfortably cool weekend ahead. It’s gonna feel like fall, folks!”
Uh-huh. I don’t know about where you live, but in my neighborhood this past weekend it felt a whole lot more like late July or early August. Neil Diamond could have given a concert in my backyard any of the past 10 or 12 nights. (Think about that one a bit. I’ll wait.)
I don’t know why I even pay attention to Johnny, Danny, Elita or Fritz after all these years. Fall or not, it’s always going to be too warm around here for my liking. Then again, it is sorta fun to see what Dallas’ hair looks like on any given day.
Must be all of that sunshine.
JIM CHASE is a longtime Crescenta Valley resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.