This is one of a series of old blog posts I’m re-publishing in honor of my 9/10’s of a decade writing SoCal Mom. This is from February 2005 – and coincidentally, we’re in the middle of another storm surge, although thankfully, not one fueled by an El Nino weather pattern.
Visitors to Southern California in the winter are often surprised (and disappointed) to learn that it does indeed rain here. Not too often; over the last couple of decades we’ve been in this cycle of a few drought years followed by an El Nino powered onslaught and Eyewitness News images of houses sliding down the hills. Then we’re advised that we still need to conserve water because it’s gone dry again.
We’ve had 2 inches of rain today; over 26 inches so far this year… and it’s ONLY February. This is about 10 inches more than we usually average in an entire year.
And the natives are not happy. Something funny about Californians: I’ve never met any other people who complain about the weather as much as we do. That’s because we think it’s our birthright to enjoy pleasant, sunny skies and warm temperatures EVERY SINGLE DAY. And if it’s not perfect, we’re NOT HAPPY.
We complain about the smog. The heat. The wind. The cold. But most of all, we complain about the rain. (You should hear us when we have a combo situation — like cold & windy… or hot & windy… or cold & windy & wet… like today.)
But you know who the worst complainers are when the weather strays from sunny and 70? The folks who came here from somewhere else. They may be used to worse weather in their old home towns, but they thought they’d left that all behind when they moved here… and by golly, all that sunshine thins their blood or something, because they tend to really resent it when it’s gone.
But that’s not all. After they’re finished complaining about the rain (you expect any minute they’re going to threaten to sue somebody), they start in on us – Californians who would have warned them that even in paradise, a little rain must fall.
The biggest complaint of other state transplants is that Californians don’t know how to drive in the rain. But I think it’s the other way around.
Californians know that because it rains so seldomly (most years), moisture makes our roads especially slick. And because most of Los Angeles is built upon a river basin, the streets tend to flood. That combination (and common courtesy) means that drivers should slooooow down. (For example: trying to get your small car through a flooded intersection while some hulking SUV thunders in at 40 mph and causing a mini-tsunami to hit your windshield, temporarily blinding you.)
Everyone I know who ever had a serious car accident did it in rainy weather. You hear it on the news: 5:00 a.m. on a rainy morning and there are SigAlerts on every freeway because some jerk cut off a truck and it jacknifed, (and that person is usually someone from somewhere else.) The result is that everyone’s day is even lousier because traffic is at a standstill, and to make matters worse — IT’S RAINING.
I personally refuse to leave the house on rainy days if I can get away with it. You’re taking your life in your hands out there.
Of course, I know it’s not like this in the rest of the world. When we visit my husband’s family in the U.K., it rains all the time. And when we visit in the winter, the cold winds are blowing so hard that those drops are coming in horizontally – like bullets.
But over there, people don’t let it stop them from getting out and doing things. Children play (properly outfitted in raincoats and wellies), people walk about and it’s no big deal. At first, this was a shock to me. Now, I take it in stride. Over there. Because if the weather is cold and damp and dreary in the British winter… well, that’s what I expect. Can’t complain about that.
But rain in California? That’s downright unnatural.