November 8th, 2013

For all that’s good about the weather in California, there is one thing that’s kind of bad, and the season for that one bad thing is upon us. We all know that to use the word winter to describe what happens here at this time of year is kind of a joke, relatively speaking. There’s already a 25-degree temperature difference between here and New York and it’s only the beginning of November. Still, it gets chilly out here. We put on sweaters and jackets, and sometimes even hats and gloves.

The problem is that, because it never gets truly cold, our winters never get the respect given to “real” winters. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in restaurants. In the winter months in California it is typical to go to a restaurant for dinner and never take your coat off. Maybe you’ll remove your hat, out of social considerations or because it’s itchy and you don’t like to eat with an itchy face, but it’s just as likely you’ll keep that on too. We’ve done away with social conventions out here, synthetic fibers almost never itch anymore and taking off your hat very likely means being just a little too cool all through your meal. Restaurants, you see, do not turn on heaters and often they’ll keep their doors open all night long. Can you even imagine such a thing in New York or Chicago? It would be unthinkable; it would be dangerous. Here, though, where on any given night someone could say “it’s not THAT cold” people don’t really bother to change anything.

The truth is that it’s possible to be colder in California in the winter than in Chicago. In Chicago, the inside of everything is heated like a furnace and people have the right clothes and bundle up well. Here, somehow, people can’t quite be bothered. Heaters are neglected. People opt to leave coats at home for fashion reasons, or choose flip-flops out of laziness. We shiver through our winters because it’s not dangerous to do it, but we’re all kind of mildly suffering. It’s silly, but we’re all in on it. See if you don’t fall right in line when you’re out here with us.

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