OK, well, I'm living on the west coast now, going on 50-something days. I'd been on the verge of hitting it big in Massachusetts for 25 years or so, and just a few short months ago I decided it was time to be on the verge of hitting it big someplace else. Oakland is where I'm at and it is pretty alright. The weather is nice, the people are laid back, and the hobos are inCREDibly aggressive. Having somewhat settled in, the mildly surreal stomach-pit vertigo of violent geographical resituation is finally subsiding and I guess that means I will be making a half-hearted attempt to resurrect this fledgling butthole of a blog. So:
I like California. It's dirty here. Dirtier than Massachusetts, but the scuzz isn't really anybody's fault. Per capita street-garbage in Oakland is sort of about equal to your average east-coast urban grunge-sprawl and it's not that bad generally. The major difference is weather: in California there are no free car washes (My Protege's rear-windshield is so encrusted that I'm surprised it hasn't suffered a lewd-message-carving at the fingers of some passing goon. I should really do something about it). The East Bay's midday sky glowers with a psychotically invariable shade of blue that I used to think only existed in Technicolor. This is a place where clouds are unlikely and overcast mornings roll in like minor holidays. Seasons aren't much more than a formality and, less than two months into my lease, the thought of precipitation is receding in my mind like the voice of a dead relative. In these circumstances it might not surprise you to learn that things stick... Without the occasional blast of rain, grime creeps along sidewalks and alleyways unabated. The sunbaked filth curls colors a few hairs toward the golden-ochre-browns, and so the ubiquitous three-story Victorians languish alongside pastel stucco cubes like well-toasted marshmallows. The cumulative effect of all this is that Oakland, California strikes the weather-beaten east-coast transplant as quite the sunny place; not just a land under the sun, but a land of the sun; so sunny, in fact, that the relentless daylight sears into the cityscape its own enervating gunk. This may sound gross, but I kind of like it. It feels lived-in.
The necessary flipside of endless summer is obvious: weather here is kind of boring. The sunny days can bleed into each other and, if you're sinking into the right sort of droopy malaise, the eternally pleasant climate becomes as effective of a deterrent for outdoor activity as any torrential downpour. I kind of miss the wild extremes of NEAP (New England Atmospheric Phenomena); the way adverse weather patterns can tug at your mood and turn an otherwise unremarkable smear of a day into an unexpected punctuation mark, or just make you super wet, also. I guess I might sound a little down on the sun, but really, it's cool. Good weather is good, and it's a little exciting, in a perverse way, to look at a 10-day forecast and see ten identical pictures. ALSO, major plus: without NEAP, nobody in California can ever get SAD*.**,***
* Seasonal Affective Disorder.
** Full disclosure: I'm near San Francisco, which has weather.
*** California is cool.