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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 you’ve experienced a summer storm in Michigan, you cannot claim to have experienced pouring.

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 freezing.

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 it’s “really getting chilly around the Bay.”

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, crappy.

It only takes a few thousand Macy’s 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.

Author's Disclaimer:
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 at all.



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