The weather, unlike Macy’s or United Airlines, lacks a customer service center, which means two things: first, the weather simply does not give a damn, not even in that half-ass, patently selfish corporate way we’re used to, and second, there’s no sensible place or target for unleashing outrage at the oppression we suffer. Our only coping mechanism is to “vent”, which means re-directing our bitter, recriminating energies towards the people who love us, which works as follows:
“Hey friend, what’s up?”
“This weather, I hate it!”
“I hate you!”
“Die, mother f*cker!”
The climate in San Francisco is “Mediterranean” or “uncomfortable year-round”, a meteorological quirk that results in a host of social externalities, including one already articulated here, but none really make you feel homicidally disgruntled until late May, when the cold and blustery winds that characterize the city’s weather patterns are supplemented by a low-lying, bone-chilling Londonesque fog (circa 1870s), a gloom so damp and hypothermic you are bound by obligation to your insurance carrier to wear a parka when venturing outdoors, and do so knowing full well that in cities across America, bush-league cities like Milwaukee, Boise, Buffalo and Nashua, New Hampshire, citizens just like you except not as smart or well-paid are cavorting about in flip flops, barbecuing on decks, licking ice cream cones and making out at the local Frosty Freeze and thinking on this destroys any lingering, underdoggy hope you have for a just world. Some statistics:
-Among largish U.S. cities, San Francisco has, by a long shot, the coldest daily mean, maximum and minimum temperatures for June, July and August,
-The average high in San Francisco in July is 66 degrees,
-The average high in Fairbanks, Alaska in July is 72 degrees,
-The the average wind speed in San Francisco in July is 14 MPH; and
In this regard, a summer in San Francisco is like a date with Pamela Anderson: the idea of it seems, despite all reason, precedent and widely circulated rumor, tremendously alluring, but the actual experience is so astoundingly awful, all cuss-words and effed-up mind games, that you wake up in the morning wanting to f*cking kill yourself.
We kid. Actually, the research demonstrates that it is hot and humid weather not soul-crushing, Frigidaire-sponsored San Francisco type weather that is correlated with people being shot in the face and other such brutally violent acts. No, the real vice of the San Francisco summer is what doesn’t happen:
-Girls wearing dresses, skirts, halter-tops, short shorts
-Outdoor/patio/rooftop social venues
-Skinny dipping at Midnight
-Skinny dipping at Noon
-Skinny dipping at other times
Apologists go around talking up San Francisco’s famous Indian summer, which consists of 9 warmish days in early October (jeans, a light wind breaker and you’ll be fine!). This is a pathetically meagre trade-off. This is laughable. This is the French negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase. This is the Falcons giving Brett Favre to the Packers for three towels and a case of PBR.
We don’t really think about it but the things that make summer delightful 1) are the very reason we suffer through our horrible jobs and all the stressful, inclement crap going down from school’s start on through the holidays, the tax season, and the NHL playoffs and 2) can basically be boiled down to opportunities to hang out with physically appealing people.
If such things are missing, how exacerbated are the travails of the human condition? What meaning is there in such a cold, Sisyphean world? What incentive to tighten up those abs, diet or believe in God? The summer is a symbolic amnesty, an escape from corporate abuse and a limited time reprieve from Sartrean nausea. It’s a chance to get off the snide. It’s a last chance for 40 year old virgins. Broken fire-hydrants, wet t-shirts and back-seat gropefests. We don’t just like it, we FaceBook like it. But make the tragic error of moving to San Francisco and it’s all gone in an instant. As they say, it’s not the cold, it’s the conditioned mentality. It’s like volunteering for early on-set senescence, where the memories of the good life remain but you’re long past actually experiencing it.