Wednesday, November 06, 2002

The conversation about the weather always makes me laugh at this time of year. Right now we have a "Weather Advisory" warning about an impending rain storm. The local paper has an entire article telling us everything we need to know about the change in weather - California readies for first rain, snow in 6 months.

I grew up on the east coast, where we actually had changes of weather on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. You learned to drive in the snow, walk in the rain, and find shelter when it became too much to bear. In California it actually goes for several months without raining. You want to get married on June/July/August 15th? No problem. I can practically guarantee exactly what the weather will be like here in the San Francisco Bay area: sunny, warm, slight breeze, zero precipitation.

When it finally does rain in California, the citizens all act very surprised. It takes us days before we even find our umbrellas. Only the recent arrivals to the state still own raincoats. Roads that have been dry for nine months, suddenly become wet...and slippery. Not having had much practice with this concept, drivers begin running into each other at many times the normal rate. Once the snow becomes heavy in the Sierra Nevadas, the traffic accidents move to the higher elevations. Though 9 out of 10 California skiers own some sort of 4WD SUV-type vehicle, many still don't understand the coefficient of friction theories of driving on snow and ice. Many believe that 18" rugged looking tires can stick to any surface, at any speed, at any turning radius. Luckily, those same SUVs come with tow hooks on the front and back, making retrieval from snow banks, cliffs, and ditches much easier.

So, we're going to have some rain tonight. I turned off the sprinklers. I put the bicycles and outdoor furniture cushions in the shed. I think I know where the umbrellas are. I did forget to change the windshield wipers on the Volvo, so I'm sure my wife will give me hell about that. I am actually looking forward to the rain. There's something very peaceful about falling asleep with the rain pounding on the roof and dripping off the trees. I just hope no one runs into my car.

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