Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sunny surprise

Here in Northern California, the sun has not made an appearance since the new year.  And, while a dozen days of overcast skies can be a bit tiresome, there is something far harder to endure: listening to Northern Californians complain about the weather.

It's true.  Whether on the local news, on blogs or in Facebook updates, my fellow Sacramentans are talking about a lack of blue skies as though it were some kind of hellish torture.  Most complaints are of the quiet, "enough already" variety, but a good handful are genuinely peeved at the injustice of it all.  "I've just about had it with this s--t," read one.

Keep in mind this is a place where the sun shines 300-something days a year.  By any standard, the weather is outrageously generous. To me, getting to live in a climate like this requires that you keep quiet when the weather makes rare forays into less-than-ideal territory.  It's an implied contract.  Besides, complaining about January fog when people in Chicago are listening is like kvetching about your scuffed shoes to a man with no feet.

A few days ago, my daughter asked me about the coldest day I could remember.  I answered without hesitation.  January 20, 1985 -- it was 27 below zero in Chicago and 83 below when you factored in the wind chill.  Eighty-three degrees below zero!  (I pause here to point out that on this coldest day in the history of Chicago, my friend Kevin and I drove to an indoor tennis match between Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe.  Kevin's Dodge Dart started on the first try -- maybe they should bring that model back to save Detroit.)

Today's weather forecast called for rain, the beginning of a week of wet days.  But when the morning was a balmy, drizzly 55 degrees,  I decided to bike to work.  I'm happy to say I was rewarded richly for this decision.  Not only did the rain fail to gather any momentum, the sun struggled out while I was riding alongside the river. 

You can call it another error of weather forecasting if you like.  I prefer to think that the sun chose to thank me for not nagging it during its brief time away.


  1. Ha, I think I'm the footless man in this scenario. Yeah, Californians, hold on while I get out my violin ;)

    Funny that you mention January 20, 1985 as the coldest day you remember. That is Chicago's official Winter Bike to Work Day for that very reason.

  2. @ Dottie,

    I love that Chicago has its bike to work day in January! That takes civic nerve, humor and flair! And, I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers... for a while there, I used to think I'd imagined the severity of that winter's temperatures.

    It's a treat to see you on here, as I am a huge fan of LGRAB. Thank you!

  3. Ha! When you grow up here you don't expect for the sun to vanish for more than a week or so at a time. Fortunately we natives are also inured to out-of-staters griping about our griping.

    Anyway, Mr. Sun was good enough to recall his obligation today. The restless natives should be quiet for awhile.

  4. This one made me laugh, Matt. Well said.

    Yesterday's appearance was welcome... today's was glorious. I rode to a meeting downtown today in my shirtsleeves. Lucky, lucky us.