Friday, July 20, 2012

Leaving Sacramento I

I've noted several times that J is going to retire at the end of next week. And that we'll be returning to the Bay Area, our home of some 30 years. (J and I arrived in San Francisco within months of one another in 1972, although we didn't meet for some years after that.)  I suppose I've sent sufficient space on the horror that is the weather in Sacramento, and I need only note that it was 105 degrees last week.  The Valley climate is a crime against humanity, and it might be better for our electrical grid to move most people from the Valley to more acceptable climates within the state.

One of the things I'll have to do is relearn the proper weather vocabulary.  "It's only 92 degrees today" is not something you say in Oakland.  Ninety-two degrees is record heat territory there, and we engage in activities like lying on the sofa with a fan set to "high," all the while whining about the missing fog.  However, 40 degrees is really cold, involving mittens and down parkas.  I have often noted that temperatures in the central Bay Area range from 50 to 75 degrees all year round.  That's the range in which I want to live.  More important, though, is the description of weather events.  "Fog" is the marine layer that comes and goes each day--sometimes earlier, sometimes later, but always just waiting for you to decide to wear shorts.  In the Valley, "fog" is the ground fog that rises in the winter.  On the rare occasions when the marine layer makes it to Sacramento, it's called "overcast."  This distinguishes the marine layer from "clouds," which come with the possibility of rain.

The weather in the Bay Area makes it possible to engage in outdoor activities all year round.  You can go shopping, out to dinner, to an outdoor concert, without worrying about heatstroke.  True, you may need a jacket and a blanket at the concert, but you won't be stretched out on the grass, hoping that the shade will soon relocate to protect you from 102 degrees. In the Valley there are long stretches during the summer where you never see anyone out-of-doors.  They're hidden in their air-conditioned houses, praying for a 20 mph "Delta Breeze."  This is the leading edge of the marine layer, which brings cooler ocean air to the Valley at about 3 AM in the summer months.  (J gets up in the middle of the night, turns off the A/C, and opens all the windows to allow this to cool the house.)

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