My oceanography teacher stated an interesting opinion that most of you weather-spoiled Southern Californians could associate with. He said, “Santa Barbara must be the coldest warm place I have ever lived.” I held in my laughter for a moment and instead let out a condescending gasp. It was not the first person I had heard complain. This column is long overdue.
Growing up in the Northeast was tough in the wintertime. Back home, coldness came harsh and swift in September with the evils of academics. That same despondent, decrepit drought of sunshine and warmness lasts [[lasted]] for an eternity. Finally, six months later in March, one might expect a sunny day to allow a T-shirt or shorts.
Those who have experienced the misery of one true winter understand my plight. The winds rage at your face. To get an idea, the freezing cold in a city like Montreal can be compared to that of the scorching heat in Phoenix – both absolutely unbearable. Older folks who lived all their lives in cities like Chicago, Cleveland or Philadelphia reflect their windswept winter outings physically. One’s skin weathers; faces become leathery through the years of the unmerciful cold.
The cold is a negative physiological force to many northeasterners. Metropolitans have constant dangerous situations posed from the combination of snow, ice, traffic and plows. We walk to school with 34-degree rain and snow mixtures, which is especially degrading. As a result, people generally feel more depressed, angry, frustrated and sad.
I remember one recent April week we got word of a nor’ Easter headed our way. Much to our delight, this April blizzard arrived and absolutely paralyzed our infrastructure. School was cancelled for three days, in April! Think about that. April – the prettiest month of the year out here.
You Californians have it so fucking good with your sunshine and happy days. People wonder what the deal is with Californians back east. People wonder why Californians seem to be more positive about life or act happier. People say, “They are just more relaxed out there, huh?” A major factor in this happy-go-lucky, outwardly smiley attitude is directly related to your uncanny amounts of sunshine and good weather.
Santa Barbara is a case in point. Here it rains no more than 15 inches per year. The average daytime temperature is around 70 degrees. On days when the sun is not out, it really is not that bad. Nothing a beautiful car ride into nearby mountains won’t cure.
Many Americans fantasize about a trip to Santa Barbara but cannot afford it. How does one from New York or Boston find warm weather in the cold season? They buy an expensive plane ticket and fly thousands of miles away.
How can you kids complain about the weather here? It is arguably the finest blend of highs and lows on the planet. Fairly cool night times, and then mild sunny days. Who is counting days when the wind pinches at your nose a little? These are unfounded complaints of bad weather.
So the next time you are day daydreaming of your air-conditioned pool house in the warm breeze of the O.C., or cleaning your truck in the perfect sunshine of La Jolla, just remember the suffering that goes on elsewhere in this country. The next time you feel the cold wisp of air infiltrate your fleece and you find yourself saying, “Wow, winter is really here; it is cold out,” simply remind yourself of what the word “cold” really means and how spoiled you are to sunbathe 365 days a year.
God bless California, the state of eternal sunshine.
Samuel Defranceschi is a senior global studies major.