by Jim Chase
Family, friends and regular readers of this column know that I do not like hot weather. Nope, I am not the happy pappy when summer rolls around and temperatures start creeping up the thermometer. When the weather drones on local TV news begin cheerfully warning viewers to “get ready for a nice warm up that should stick around a while” I want to crawl under a dark, cool rock somewhere and not come out for several months.
Be that as it may, living in an arid, near-desert environment like we do, I’ve learned to tolerate the uncomfortably warm and sticky Junes, hot-as-exhaust-pipe Julys, and even our good-God-almighty-this-can’t-be-good-for-your-health Augusts. After all, it’s summer. It’s supposed to be hot. I’ll give you that. So grab your zinc oxide and boogie boards and knock yourselves out. I’ll wait right here in the shade with an ice cold glass of tea.
But the time I seriously start to lose my patience is right … about … now. Oh, how I loathe September. It doesn’t matter one bit that the official last day of summer comes this month (like it did earlier this week). Because in Southern California, the end of summer is just a date on the calendar. A cruel hoax. A flip of the Fahrenheit finger to cool climate loving people like me. In September, as Karen Carpenter used to sing, we’ve only just begun.
If you’ve lived here during even one of our fall seasons, you know that some of our hottest, most oppressive heat shows up from now through the end of October. When the rest of the country starts dressing like the models on an Eddie Bauer catalog cover, we Southlanders are sweating out how much longer we can wear our board shorts and tank tops before the seams fall apart. I swear, if I hear Matt or Meredith mention one more time how chilly the mornings are becoming back in the Rockefeller Plaza, I’m going to slap someone silly with my flip flops.
Even as I write this, the forecast is for a noticeable warm up on Monday and Tuesday (following a weekend that was already in the upper 90s, mind you!) then brutal, brain-baking heat on Wednesday and Thursday (with generous gusts of Santa Ana winds to stir up all the ashes from the blackened hillsides), and finally a gradual cooling trend starting on Friday and continuing through the weekend. Seriously, a cooling trend? Wanna bet?
You can’t fool me, Fritz. The way things work around here, what may first be labeled a one day spike in temperature soon becomes four or five days of “extended heat,” which quickly turns into seven to ten days or more of a “typical late summer-like heat wave.” You can count on it.
At least I can gloat when the happy talkers on TV start complaining about the rising costs of heating oil (whatever that is) as they prepare for a real fall. Then again, I just paid our August electricity bill. At least I think it was ours and not the entire neighborhood’s. The thing was so high I called Edison before I wrote my check just to be sure they hadn’t invoiced me for the cost of a new power plant by mistake. No such luck. Our bill was hysterically high because we ran our air conditioning 24/7 during the worst of the Station Fire last month. It was either that or not breathe. Oh well, our son didn’t really want to start college next year, anyway.
And yet, even as our utility meter is once again spinning frenetically like an out of control children’s toy, I don’t despair. I know from many years of experience that we’ll eventually get our cooler fall weather – sometime right after New Years. My flannel shirts are waiting.
See you ’round town.
Jim Chase is a longtime CV resident and freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org