Truth Time: L.A. Weather's Not All It's Cracked Up to Be
It's the truism we always fall back on: You can't beat L.A. weather! No matter what kind of terrible day you're having or how off-base the East Coaster insulting our city, that's our trump card. With more pleasant days than anywhere else in the country, it's a simple fact that our weather is better. It's sunshine and good times in the land of 75 and sunny, baby. You can't possibly argue with that.
This may get me crucified, but I don't like L.A. weather. For all the praises sung about it, it doesn't really live up to the hype. L.A. weather can take its job and shove it, as far as I'm concerned.
I know what you're thinking. "You're really going to tell me," you posit, "that when you're sitting outside on a sunny day at the beach, enjoying the perfectly warm-yet-mild, ocean-breezy air, looking up at the cloudless sky, that you don't like it?"
Well, yes, I do. That's sounds like a beautiful day, and L.A. has lots of those. I don't not enjoy beautiful days.
What I'm saying is that L.A. weather as a whole - as a concept, as an entity, as a way of life - leaves me cold. For all the days it makes me feel cozy and sun-kissed, there are just as many that make me depressed.
My disenchantment began in the early summer of 2010, almost a full year after the proverbial bus dropped me off here. A Rust Belt kid who'd spent her formative years in the upper Midwest, digging myself out from under piles of snow, I could think of nothing better than 365 days of summery bliss.
Of course, it didn't quite work that way. We have plenty of chilly days here, and frankly, I was relieved by that. Who doesn't love sweater weather?
The problem - which I quickly discovered as the calendar crept towards Memorial Day that year - was that sweater weather seemed to happen at all the wrong times: in May and June, for example, when the rest of the country is excitedly Instagramming their beach chairs, and we're covered in "gloom." Or at night at the Hollywood Bowl, in the middle of August, when you suddenly find yourself blanket-less and freezing. Or, you know, nearly every time you step into a shadow.
Even worse are those years, like this last one, when it's 81 degrees on Christmas. No one should complain about an 81-degree day, I know, but despite how beautiful it was outside, it made me strangely sad. L.A. felt undeniably out of sync that day, and that's a lonely feeling. The same one I get in June when all I want to do is ditch my Uggs, and the weatherman won't let me.
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For all the climatic greatness we have in L.A., the truth is, we're missing out on some things. Like thunderstorms. Oh, thunderstorms, how I miss them! The way they announce their approach ever so subtly, painting the sky in billowy grays and blacks, then kicking up a menacing wind that sends you running for shelter where you sit, and watch, and listen - flinching and giggling at every flash of light and rolling boom.
And what I wouldn't give for one hot night. The kind where you can sit outside in the shorts and flip-flops you wore all day and listen to the crickets, without a hoodie, and drink cold beer without a shiver running up your spine.
At the same time, I miss that first day of fall when the chill comes back into the air, and you excitedly dig back into the more stylish half of your wardrobe, thankful for a solid break from swimsuit season.
Or for that matter, wouldn't a snow day be nice? Sure, the shoveling and salting look nightmarish, and I wouldn't wish flight cancellations or power outages on anyone. But doesn't a surprise day off to drink hot cocoa and snuggle with your lover sound downright lovely? Ask anyone who's ever lived back East - snow breeds camaraderie. Your neighbor shovels your walk or helps you dig out your car. Even better than that, a blanket of snow slows everything down. You can't get to work, so you have no excuse not to sit and watch your kids build a snowman all afternoon. Maybe the blizzards aren't so bad.
It's not you, L.A., it's me. I know I'm ungrateful. Every morning when I wake up to sunny skies and gentle temps, I should be thanking my lucky stars. It's easy to romanticize the mercurial when you don't have to deal with it day to day. But sometimes when I'm feeling blue and the weather simply refuses to match my mood, like The Temptations said, I just wish it would rain.
Follow Ali Trachta on Twitter at @MySo_CalLife
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