Thermal Corruption

Places with actual weather
Places with actual weather
Since I’ve moved to Los Angeles–two “winters”, so called, so far–I’ve been overwhelmed by the creeping inability to withstand any actual weather that afflicts Angelenos. The “storms” this December drove in this observation. Partially via the rather breathless newscasters excitedly proclaiming the few inches of snow in some nearby mountains and slightly coolish temperature in Los Angeles and environs themselves, coming during some pleasantly mild rains. But really the observation strikes me hardest among my own friends and acquaintances.

I can understand well enough how natives to the area would be inexperienced with things like water coming from the sky, or temperatures falling to actual button-your-jacket levels. For that matter, the immigrants from similar or warmer climes, are equally excused of the corruption of this rant… What is so odd is that all my once-northern friends seem to reach this same Hollywood-set experience of temperatures after approximately a year here, the sturdiest lasting two, maybe. Is some toxin afflicting them (or, heaven forbid, ‘us’)? My friends from Moscow and Warsaw, from Montreal, from Wisconsin, from Massachusetts, quickly come to believe that 55 deg F is unpleasantly cold, and are filled with apoplectic terror at the thought of the snows they once rolled in and drove though.

This phenomenon does not seem generic to all warm geographies. Or at least it seems much slower to take in its victims. I know people who have lived in Georgia, or Texas, or even the Caribbean, who while not necessarily remaining arctic aficionados, at least retain awareness of what cold is (and is not).

Me, I’m resisting corruption, as best I can. I fancy myself one of those few survivors in those equally-LA zombie movies, beating back the infection of those easily-chilled post-life locals. I haven’t avoided the water, but perhaps I’ve missed whichever chic coffee shop serves the pro-freeze elixer. I was so delighted by my far-too-short exposure to signficantly sub-freezing temperatures on a recent trip. And I revel in my memories of snow shoveling. Maybe it’s all enough to keep me pure… as the driven snow.

13 Replies to “Thermal Corruption”

  1. I am one of the rare people who gets depressed by the lack of weather here. It genuinely makes me sad and I simply can’t get used to it (I’ve lived here 8 years now). I really need and appreciate seasons and they are just so subtle here. I find myself wearing a sweater when it’s 62 degrees, mainly out of that need to acknowledge seasons. I always look forward to going East during the winter to experience cold at least for a few days.

  2. I wrote on a similar theme a month ago, and received a number of comments explaining how fresh rain causes oil to rise to the road surface, as if that wasn’t the case elsewhere. Therefore, I’ll be curious to see what responses you get here.

  3. I love our weather and lack of winter. June gloom needs to take a hike for this place to be perfect. In fact every time we break 80-90 I send pics of my thermometer to my friends and fam back east, especially the ones still on da Iron Range where a daytime high of -25 is considered a warm one.

    I do have to admit everytime I tell my kids that Minneapolis at Xmas is colder than our fridge they hang up all thoughts of going back for a “white christmas”. Panty waists for sure but it keeps me where my toes stay warm in January so am good with it.

  4. Frazgo, I agree that a Minneapolis winter is nothing to pine for. I’m really just referring to a basic winter where it’s in the 30s and snows every now and then. Not anything as insane as 25 below.

  5. Don’t worry Lulu, you’ll be ordering your Snuggie soon enough, hunkering down (while still able to use the phone/pet the dog/read a book!) while tuned to STORMWATCH!!!11! And you’ll know you’ve arrived.

  6. Mason, I don’t know what your responders were saying but a more accurate answer is that since it rains so infrequently here that oil from cars accumulates on the roads and makes the roads quite slick when it finally does rain. And since we have so many cars, that effect is quite substantial. It has nothing to do with oil “seeping up.”
    I agree with Hildy that seasonal changes are very subtle out here. A lot of people who aren’t from LA just don’t know how to appreciate and recognize the seasonal changes here. They aren’t as obvious as “blizzard=winter” like in other parts of the country but once you learn to notice the uniqueness of this little corner of the planet, like how hillsides that have been a dormant brown all summer erupt in green after the first rain, or that a lot of california native plants are blooming right now and that their flowers will be gone by mid april, or how the jacarandas blanket the streets in purple every may, our seasons become a lot more interesting.

  7. I worry about this too – I’ll become soft and won’t be able to cope anywhere else. I try to avoid acclimatising by not wearing a jacket, and being the only person at work to be eating outside. I noticed the other day that almost all of the people who were eating outside were (relatively recent) arrivals from Europe.

  8. I, too, am in my second LA “winter” after having lived the previous years either in Northern Ohio or the DC burbs. I’m amused at watching LA residents battle the cold weather and rain. Rain traffic reminds me of driving in DC after the first snow fall, extremely slow and backed up.

    When ever I talk to friends and family in the East, they are so jealous of the weather. I’m watching 6inches of snow falling from the patio of a local restaurant, enjoying a cup of coffee.

    I will admit, I don’t miss shoveling the snow, but I did go back to Maryland in January, and it snowed a little. I love watching the snow fall. There is just something so restful and relaxing about it. I feel sorry for warm weather residents who’ve never seen snow fall.

  9. I don’t think anyone is cold resistant enough to stand being soaked by rain and facing wind chill factor. When I was homeless and got wet, I said to myself I’d better get warm. Fortunately there are a lot of laundrymats to get warm. No I didn’t catch pneumonia but sure came close to getting killed by cold weather.

  10. Does it help I still wear shorts on days in the 50’s? I still revel at our lack of cold and the ability to just go visit snow and winter.

  11. I lived in cold and warm climates before L.A. In my 14 years, I still haven’t become someone who puts on a parka, scarf, and gloves when it dips below 60. The thing that really cracks me up though is that when it does get “cold,” I see several people all bundled up, but still wearing their flip-flops! I love that!

  12. This drives me crazy! My mom’s from the East Coast and even after 30+ years in LA she still speaks whistfully of a “real winter”.

    Well, I lived in New York for two years and NEVER AGAIN!! What’s so romantic about being trapped inside your house for months on end because it’s unbearably cold outdoors? I have a few friends who just moved here from NY (both East Coast natives) and couldn’t be happier to finally escape the restrictive depressing winter. Seriously, people who miss that are nuts.

    And yes, I agree that falling snow is very beautiful, but living with it for weeks/months on end is a bit different than appreciating it one afternoon from the cozy confines of your home. Snow in the city also gets pretty gross after about a day, when it turns to dirty slippery ice.

  13. As a native Angelino, I just love it when people move here and then bitch about how everything is different.

    No, we may not be able to handle a little rain, but come see us when it’s 120 degrees outside.

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