Come Mr. Weather Man, Telling Me the Weather...
by Margaret Treadwell
As winter descends upon those unfortunate souls living in places
which actually have it, I have been reflecting upon some curious
behavior here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
There is an interesting phenomenon - or, perhaps, illness - in
the Bay Area which causes me to question the rationality of my
fellow Californians. What is this malady? It is simply the erroneous
notion that there is weather here.
I admit that there is, technically, weather everywhere. But, it
cannot be denied that temperatures here in San Francisco rarely
violate the unspoken rule that they are not to venture above 89
degrees or below 38 degrees. And while it does occasionally rain
here, it never pours. You may try to argue, but until youve experienced
a summer storm in Michigan, you cannot claim to have experienced
Despite the largely eventless weather in this area, it has come
to my attention that San Franciscans engage in a strange ritual
each year, which I have come to refer to as Sympathetic Season
Syndrome, or SSS.
The following are symptoms of SSS which I have observed:
1) Dressing a child in a snowsuit in 55-degree weather.
2) Wearing Thinsulate (TM) clothing when the temperature is above
3) Upon seeing the first sprinkle of rain in three months, sighing
and saying, I guess winter is really here.
4) Referring to a Partly Cloudy day as miserable weather.
5) After a weekend of sunshine and highs in the 70s, claiming
on the local news that its really getting chilly around the
6) Advertsing a Winterization car service at the local gas station.
What could cause this curious delusion? My hypothesis is that
nationwide seasonal marketing causes the San Franciscan to deny
the pleasant weather outside, and believe that weather here is
just like that found in most of the rest of the country - namely,
It only takes a few thousand Macys and Target commercials to
immerse a consumer in the feel of a snowy season. Children frolicking
in the snow and cosy fireplace scenes with folks warming their
frostbitten hands are staple images in the Christmas-shopping
marketing strategy of every major retail corporation.
Not only do these commercials seduce the San Franciscan into believing
it is important to shop the day after Thanksgiving, they also
convince them that it is a cold season, requiring all the winter
gear advertised on these nationwide commercials. Hence the curious
symptoms described above.
It is my proposal to stop this mass delusion here and now, before
people in San Francisco start driving around with chains on their
tires. If logical discussion will not convince a victim of SSS
to abandon their misguided ways, I suggest a year-long Winter
Immersion Program in Minneapolis. Anyone still suffering from
SSS after that can surely be diagnosed as suffering from some
more severe ailment of the mind.
This article was written before the El Nino winter of 1997-98,
during which it did, admittedly, pour rain here in the Bay Area.
Maybe Bay Areans don't have to go to the Winter Immersion program
anymore, but I certainly hope they have learned to appreciate
normal weather here, which, I contend, isn't really real weather
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