Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wintering in California

I grew up here in the San Francisco area, so I should be used to this warm November weather, but some deep instinctual human part of me yearns for the snap of winter air around this time. We generally get that kind of air in July, through days and nights of chilly, sight line reducing fog. But its November now, Thanksgiving is a few days away and I am still wondering when I should put the short sleeve shirts away.

Here in SF…

…Thanksgiving can be a picnic, outside, on the beach… if you so choose! No reason to remain shut inside with the smell of burnt rolls and singed marshmallows making you ill. No need for a kids table either. Just give them a roll, a drumstick and some olives for the fingers and push them into the backyard. In the pool. Don’t forget sunscreen.

…It’s not biting cold and freezing ice you have to worry about at the post Thanksgiving Friday shopping rush. No, it’s more about finding a parking spot in a shaded area so you can utilize the steering wheel on the way home without burning your hands. It's also hard to cram in craploads of presents around craploads of beach and biking gear in the trunk.

…Christmas tree lots are built up with tents to keep the sunshine from fading the green trees and wilting the poinsettias. A snow covered tree is not something you can see from your back window. It’s that flocked pine my dad always wants to talk my Mom into getting one year. Maybe a nice flocking of blue? And by the way, anyone walking around the tree lots in hats, gloves and scarves are doing so for a family Christmas card photo. And they are sweating. Badly.

…Native Californians dream not of a White Christmas, instead they dream of the week between Christmas and New Years being spent in snowy Lake Tahoe. That is, if we have gotten enough snow to cover the ground at that point. As a kid, one year I challenged God to prove his existence by making it snow on Christmas. Yeah, I have a feeling I am STILL paying penalties for that one.

…The Christmas trees in our houses are fire hazards by mid December, despite the sad icicle effect of tinsel draped on the branches. Adults don’t dare smoke by them, and children keep their distance, lest two branches rub together and set off sparks.

But here I am on a Tuesday before Thanksgiving, wearing a turtleneck, by god! Desperate for a little seasonal spirit, I bought these little tiny fake trees at Long’s. Little pine trees with tiny pine needles dusted with tiny flecks of some kind of no doubt flammable fake snow substance. I carried them back to work carefully, setting them atop my cubicle wall, on display for all to see.

It’s the first sign of winter for us!

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