Recently on NPR's exceptional Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, a caller started his call with, "I'm blah-blah from Phoenix, it's 80 degrees and I'm wearing shorts." Or something to that effect. The host, Peter Sagal, quipped, "ah, it's that time of the year in Phoenix, when the weather becomes bearable and the residents become smug." Or something to that effect.
I fear that I'm "that guy", the smug West Coast sailor who delights in pointing out that I wear shorts while sailing in November (like I did this past month a few times). I write about it and feel a sort of smug satisfaction. I admit it. I also feel totally superior whenever I mention our 25 knot summer winds.
But now it's time to take myself down a notch or three. I could have sailed this weekend, I had a bit of time and opportunity. The boat's just sitting there, the wind is completely manageable single-handed. But I didn't do it. It's just too damned cold.
Folks in Rhode Island and Minnesota and New York are laughing at me right now. Too cold? It was 55 degrees this weekend. That's not cold.
But San Francisco has a special kind of cold, one that Easterners and Northerners just don't get. Our special kind of cold is why our biggest industry is selling sweatshirts to tourists. Forget Tom Perkins and the Silicon Valley crowd, the Sweatshirt King might just be the wealthiest person in SF...wealth built on tables of $15 sweatshirts with bad stitching in Fisherman's Wharf.
This cold is caused by Alaska sending its ocean currents our way. It's caused by mountain runoff funneling into the Bay. It's because our 50 degree air interacts and mingles with 48 degree water. Our cold is wet. Our cold has water's natural ability to soak in and not go away. Our cold sucks. And it's at its worst when you're on the water.
So I didn't sail this weekend and I lost some smugness. But I didn't get frostbite.