While I was comfortably sitting at my desk last week at work in the cool 68 degree office, summer barreled through Los Angeles with no warning, leaving people stunned in its wake.
Sure, it felt about 80 degrees at 10am when we would walk to get coffee. Sure, the apartment seemed a little warm when I would get home at night. But I'm here to tell you I had no idea how serious summer was being this time around. Summer was not kidding around this weekend.
I've been pleading for summer to join us. I'm ready for everything that comes with summer - barbecues with friends, beach volleyball, drinking beer in the afternoon on weekends, swimming in the freezing Pacific Ocean, 4th of July weekend in Catalina. Usually, summer in LA is full of 80 degree days, cloudless skies, a cool breeze, and a sort of disgusting haze (smog) hanging over the skyline. Obviously, you have to take the good with the bad.
This weekend was different. Yes, there were the cloudless skies. But my God, was it HOT. The forecast called for 87 degrees both Saturday and Sunday. When the forecast calls for 87, it's saying it will be 87 in downtown Los Angeles. See this map of LA:
See where it says "LOS ANGELES"? That's right around where we live. Do you see where it says "NORTH HOLLYWOOD"? That's where I work. That's in The Valley, also known as The San Fernando Valley, also known as The Fuckin' Valley, and its gang name, The SFV.
Why am I illustrating the geography of LA? Well, when the forecast calls for 87 degrees in downtown LA, you can bet your sweet bippy it'll be near 100 degrees in The Valley. And the deeper you go into The Valley, the hotter it gets. This is why I don't want to move to The Valley.
Conversely, when the forecast calls for 87 degrees in downtown LA, it'll be no hotter than 80 at the beach (usually closer to 78), in places like Santa Monica, Venice, and the like. And there is always a nice ocean breeze the closer you get to the water. This is why I want to move closer to the beach.
Because as middle of the road downtown LA is temperature-wise, nothing provided relief this weekend.
We spent Saturday morning in Santa Monica with Elizabeth, making buckeyes, which are an Ohio cookie of chocolate and peanut butter. Santa Moinca was beautiful, breezy and warm. And in a moment of sheer beauty, Gina uttered words I will never let her live down. As she could smell the ocean, feel the cool air, and walk on the streets without stepping over trash, she said, "I... I'd kind of like to live down here." (Up until that point, she'd expressed no interest in moving out of Hollywood. And while I love Hollywood, I'm ready to go west, young man.)
All was fine and dandy, we were welcoming summer with open arms. Then... we got home. Our apartment, normally a perfect mix of bright and breezy, had turned into a 350 square foot high pressure system, making it feel quite like the feeling you get when you open an oven to check on a casserole.
Now, I grew up in a house with central air, where during the summer, it was not uncommon to come visit my house and see my whole family in sweatshirts and three pairs of socks. Everyone except my mother, of course, who insisted on keeping the house at near-freezing. Despite my complaints about how cold it was inside, I became very spoiled, and enjoyed the sticky Ohio summers only because I knew I could easily get out of the heat. When I have no escape from the heat, I become cranky.
We had two fans running, including a ceiling fan, and opened all the windows. The usual breeze that inhabits our apartment had gone elsewhere, and left us gasping for air. After about an hour and a half of bitching, I decided on a whim to turn on the wall unit air conditioner. The heating function of this never worked well in the winter, so I imagined the cool air function wouldn't work well either... not well enough to keep it on while it emits harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. I was right... it cooled only the spot directly in front of the unit.
We decided we needed to get out of the house for a while, so we went and ran some errands. Despite my instinct to turn everything off before leaving... despite my instinct to run the air conditioner as little as possible... we left the wall unit on while we were away, hoping beyond hope it might help. And sure enough, when we got back, the apartment was like heaven again. I attributed it mostly to the sun going down, but the next day, before we left for the farmer's market, I turned on the AC. We were gone for about three hours, and when we got back, it was downright cold in our apartment.
Of course, it was only cold in the living area... the kitchen was hot as hell. And wouldn't you know it, I decided to bake cupcakes in celebration of Gina's 30th birthday! today!! So... that didn't help. But Gina got to eat her share of cake batter, got to take cupcakes to work today, and we found out the trick to enjoying our summer.
All is well.