The yard was full of tomato plants about to ripen, and mint, mint, everything smelling of mint, and one fine old tree that I loved to sit under on those cool perfect starry California October nights unmatched anywhere in the world.- Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
I’m ready for winter. Or autumn, at the very least. I find myself looking at magazine layouts with looks for fall, coveting sweaters and coats, while outside the temps are in the mid-nineties. In some Darwinian way I’d expect that four generations in Los Angeles would mean I was born to love this town made up of just two seasons: one made to wear sundresses, and the other to wear sundresses with a cardigan of featherweight cashmere. Somewhere between them are roughly three and a half weeks when I can pull out all the various coats and sweaters and enjoy them before they get put back in the furthest recesses of my closets for the next 332 days.
I spent 100 days in Vancouver last year. In part, I stayed for the weather. 100 days where the temps rarely made it above 50 degrees, and for a good stretch of time hovered around 35, the evenings dropping lower. It was a colder autumn/winter than usual, they kept saying apologetically. The snow came early. I tried to hide my joy, as the locals did not find this as fabulous as I did. This was my sort of weather.
But it’s July now in LA. And it’s really freaking hot. It’s been ridiculously hot in most of the country. In parts ill prepared for the sort of temps we’re ready for. I can’t begin to imagine what that’s like. It’s the norm around these parts.
And so, on these 96 degree days, I close my eyes and imagine it’s November, about 4:30pm on a Wednesday, walking to the apartment as the Vancouver sun disappears. I button my coat, knot my scarf around my neck and take a deep breath, inhale the cool air, exhale and actually SEE it. I pass the library whose digital display reads the time and the temp. The temp is two. Which, in Californiaese is about 35 degrees. And it looks like it might rain, too. I try not to smile at the less than enthusiastic locals.
I open my eyes and I’m hot and cranky again. We’re not in Kitsilano anymore.
But it gets better when the sun goes down. Right now, in Los Angeles, the sun stays up until about eight. The beach grows damp, but the Valley is dry, the sky stays clear – it’s about 72 degrees, the stars are out and it’s gorgeous. I love summer evenings in the Valley, it’s actually the most beautiful part of LA in the summer, I think.
But during the day, every so often, I think of Vancouver and the autumn air. Or skim the look book for fall on J. Crew’s site and dream of skirts with tights and cute boots that will get roughly three weeks use before they return to the abyss until year. Or maybe a trip East or North.
I miss the cold. The library clock and the 5˙ C temp announcing itself proudly, glimmering like a giant Lite Brite display. Hurry up winter. xo a.
And now, to beat the heat, a few more great things someone else said about being cool:
You always look so cool. – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. – Thomas Jefferson
He was fond of books, for they are cool and sure friends. – Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Summer bachelors, like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be. – Nora Ephron