Friday, January 27, 2017

I Hate California

Last night, I spent a good chunk of my time brooding over how much I hate California.

This happens every year right around this time.  It's been cold forever.  It takes a million years to get the kids out the door because of all the layers, and every evening each kid has to lay out not just their school attire upstairs, but by the front door I make them lay out their snow pants, snow boots, hat, and gloves or mittens, because if they are missing a single one of those things the school will not allow them out the door for recess.  This, of course, makes perfect sense, as another of the school's policies is that if it is above zero degrees, those kids are going outside.  Because I love that our kids get regular recess times, I love this rule, even if it does occasionally make me question why we have more than one kid (SO MANY GLOVES. SO MANY MITTENS. SO MANY HATS. SO MANY BOOTS.), but that is what winter does to you: it makes you start mentally paring down on how many children you should have.  It is a cruel, merciless time.

Enter California hatred.

Just to be clear, I don't hate California in actuality.  (I think.)  Although the number of people I personally know from that state can be counted on just one hand, every one of them is lovely.  The one time I visited California, it was nice.

It's the idea of California that I hate.  The always warm, always sunshiney, all the people who live there squeal and huddle into their parkas when the temperature drops to 50 degrees, oh, and all they eat are salads- that California is positively loathsome.  Particularly when you've been living under near-constant cloud cover for what feels like weeks.

Again, I know:  California is a big state.  There's major variety in topography, weather, cultures, etc, depending on where you're at.  And if it's just the warm places I want to stab with my abundant supply of icicles, why not Florida?  The Gulf coast?  The southwest?

And this winter hasn't even been that bad!  Way less snow than normal, and there for a week or two we had highs above freezing most days!  It was like some kind of (global warming) miracle!

I'm telling you, I know the whole thing doesn't make sense.  But man... California.  I hate that guy.

This morning, though?  There were no clouds in the sky, including those low-hanging ones that feel ever-present this time of year.  If Iowa is a trailer park, then those clouds are a dangerous, rusted out old swing set: inevitable but so dang depressing.  (Criminy, even my similes are sad this time of year.)

Back to no clouds today:  Do you know what that means?  DO YOU?


As soon as I saw that the sun did not hate us, that it had merely been hidden by the trailer-park-swing-set-clouds, my spirits lifted.  I also felt this strange sensation where the light touched my shoulder- why, it was warmth!  As it turns out, the sun makes you warm!

I did the only sensible thing, and took myself right on over to the forest preserve, where I traipsed hither and yon in that sunshine, the same sunshine that made the snow all sparkly and reminded me that I like the feel of crunchy, ice-crusted snow underfoot, and the feel of cold air in my lungs, and the silence that winter brings as all the sensible people are driven inside.  The presence of the sun made it feel at least twenty degrees warmer than it has been in weeks, although a look at my phone showed me that the perhaps the sun is not to be completely trusted.

Almost every person that walked through the doors of library today immediately exclaimed, "The sun is out!" or "Can you believe that sun?" and the few that didn't were promptly reminded by me or my co-workers that it is risen!  It is risen, indeed!  Hallelujah!

If any of those conversations sound sad, well, it's probably because they kind of are, but hey- the sun was out today!

But I still hate California.

Winter in Not-California

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