Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

This post is brought to you by Gretchen @ Second Blooming. Thank you for the weather report:

Here in Hollywood, you can always spot a tourist by their clothing. Not only are they wearing baggy athletic shorts, sneakers and souvenir t-shirts from Laughlin, Nevada, which no self-respecting Angeleno would be caught dead in, they are wearing baggy athletic shorts, sneakers and souvenir t-shirts from Laughlin, Nevada in 48 degree weather. Because for some reason everybody thinks that it's always hot here, which is absolutely not true. It is, to clarify, always PLEASANT here. In the winter it's cool, but pleasant, and in the summer it's warm, but pleasant.

I have now lived in Los Angeles for 21 years (Eek! How did that happen?), and I still can't get used to the weather. One must always prepare for the fact that the temperature drops 20 degrees at night, every night. So one must always bring a sweater. I have many sweaters. And it's kind of impossible to do the old switching-out-the-seasonal-wardrobe-in-the-closet thing. I mean, you're likely to need a tank top in December, and a heavy coat in June. Because, while we do have seasons, they are rather peculiar and nontraditional.

May can be iffy. Jude's birthday is May 6th, and when I look back on pictures from past birthdays, some years we're all wearing short sleeves and sundresses, and some years it's corduroys and wool coats.

In June, when the rest of the USA is enjoying the beginning of summer, we in Los Angeles are suffering from a phenomenon known locally as "June Gloom". An entire month of cold and overcast skies. Last summer, my little village of moms who do "Beach Fridays" every week, stubbornly took our children to the beach all through June and we all sat in our beach chairs shivering. The children's lips were turning blue, but we went anyway, because damnit, it was supposed to be SUMMER! But alas…

July, August and some of September actually are Summer. Usually in the 80's and, of course, pleasant. We will occasionally have a heatwave, when the temperatures go into the upper 90's or low 100's, but it's never for more than a few days. Friends who live in other parts of the country are shocked to hear that we don't have air conditioning in our house.  But the truth is that there are usually only about two weeks each year when you really wish you had it, and they're never two weeks in a row.

September, October and early November are what I think of as the Blissful Season. When the weather is SO pleasant, that it almost makes up for the freakazoid traffic and occasionally bad air. Warm sun, cool breezes. Ah! This is why people moved her in the first place. It's also the closest thing we have to Autumn. Leaves do, in fact, turn, though it's usually a long and confusing process.

November and December are the most peculiar and least pleasant time of the year, as it's when the mysterious Santa Ana Winds begin to blow. These are hot winds that blow off the desert like a furnace, whipping trees apart and sapping every drop of humidity out of the air. Your skin gets all dry and itchy. The Chumash Indians actually called these winds "Devil Winds", and I share their sentiment. Everybody gets in a terrible mood. According the LAPD statistics, the crime rate for domestic violence goes up substantially when the Santa Ana's are blowing. And they heat everything up so much that the idea of Autumn flies out the window. Or rather is blown out the window. It's very typical for them to kick up on Thanksgiving Day, which is, of course, the only day when one's required to keep the freaking oven on ALL day. Arrgh. This is also, because of the winds…Fire Season. When wild fires wipe out subdivisions and the odd National Forest, and your car is covered with a fine coating of ash.

January and February are Winter, I guess. It's usually in the 40's at night. It's also Rainy Season, and everyone excitedly pulls out their rain boots, because it's basically the only time of the year that it does rain, and golly, rain boats are so cute. And since the fires just burned up all the undergrowth in certain areas, it's also Mudslide Season.

But March and April?  Spring. Really. Real genuine Spring. Just like other people get. Bulbs come up and gardens erupt in daffodils. Trees leaf. Everyone runs outside and parks fill with picnickers. Easter Sunday is always the perfect day for Easter dresses and Easter bonnets and hunting for eggs.

And my very favorite thing about Spring in Hollywood? In our backyard, right outside Jude's bedroom window, is an orange tree, which every year, bursts into bloom. Orange blossoms everywhere. And the heady smell of Neroli fills the air and wafts into his room. When we bought our house, it was a secret selling point for me. I loved the idea of having that intense sensorial childhood memory of having an orange tree outside your bedroom window. It sounds like something from a book, doesn't it? 

So Spring has officially sprung here in Hollywood. Maybe I'll go outside and sit in the hammock and read. Smell the orange blossoms. Feel the sun on my face. Quickly, before the temperature drops and I need a blanket. Hmmm. Pleasant. Very pleasant.


Pseudo said...

Growing up in LA, I loved the Fall, especially the East Winds, which back then we called the Santa Anas. During the late 60's, when we lived in a mobile home park in Malibu, I absolutely loved that time of year.

Your post took me back. Thank-you. Ihave been away for 27 years...

Michele said...

I lived in Santa Monica in the early 80s and fall was my favorite season. Just until ash season.

Elizabeth said...

I always hate it when people bash Los Angeles. That's why I love your very honest essay -- although I'd say it was more than just "pleasant" weather here. Except for some dog days in September, it's rather GLORIOUS!

Shelby said...

Need I quote Randy Newman? I grew up in Torrance/Redondo Beach (for you non-Angelenos, it's a suburb-ish area Southwest of downtown on the beach). Being 4 miles from the ocean, the temperatures are even more moderate (no air conditioning either! Trufax!).

Ways to spot a tourist on the beach:
*Thinking you can "lay out and get a tan" over your spring break. Nope.
*wearing cut-off shorts into the ocean. One word: sandburn.
*A beach umbrella--good luck with that
*An inflatable raft. This is the Pacific. It's angrier than the Atlantic.

And you forgot to mention the other wonderful part of the Santa Anas--allergy attacks from all the crap blowing around!

Sadly, I'm now behind the Orange Curtain and in Disneyland-land, we most assuredly do need air conditioning. Still love Southern California though.

Oh, and no snow? A 2-hour drive will take you to the snow-covered mountains where you can strap on your snowboard and knock yourself out. And then come back in the evening to catch the sunset on the beach. Wearing a jacket, because the beach is not warm when there's snow in the mountains.

Cajoh said...

Thank you so much for your contribution…

I was last in LA in May of last year, but was there during the June Gloom the time before. Perhaps I like the variation in the weather that I have here in Chicago. They say: "If you don't like the weather— wait a minute it'll change"

Debbie said...

I haven't been to LA but I've been to San Francisco 3 times and each time I have been thrilled to watch people freeze and see the merchants do a brisk business in sweatshirts.

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