Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Sunday, November 19, 2006
I didn't grow up in the snow and I can't even remember a measly rainstorm on either Christmas or Thanksgiving my entire youth. Maybe that's me just projecting, though. It must have rained at least once.
Born in New Jersey I resented (a little bit) my parents for moving me to San Diego when I was two and depriving me of snow and autumn leaves and weather. And to this day, I have a bitter taste in my mouth when I hear the words:
"'Tis the season"
Because "season" assumes that there are indeed seasons to speak of. Weather change. A sudden nip in the air.
But for native Southern Californians, our idea of "snow" is the frosting on the windows of fast-food restaurants. Our seasons defined by the assortment of Hallmark cards featured in the holiday isle.
Some nights it was cold enough for a fire but usually it was only because we begged for one. The winter lows in San Diego mean low 60's and on Christmas Eve, we paraded around the house in boxer shorts and t-shirts, instead of the fuzzy pajamas and and scarves so publicized on TV commercials.
Fast forward to present day. Still rooted in So-Cal and Hi, how ya doing...
I always promised myself that as an adult (which I suppose it's time to call myself) I would be living somewhere with seasons. Southern California is not romantic. It's pleasant and temperate and the weather is always the same, but for a writer, a romantic, someone who is happiest in the rain, I always thought I would end up somewhere with a rusty-hinged window sill and plenty of blankets in the closet. Somewhere by a fireplace. With snow-boots by the door.
I own nearly three-dozen coats and close to a dozen pairs of boots, many of which I have never worn before. When I moved to London for a few months I brought most of them with me. It snowed there for two days and although I complained of cold to the locals, I was secretly smiling inside and hoping the snow wouldn't melt so fast.
Because there is no such thing as seasons in Southern California. There is no such thing as snow and leaves that change color and crunch under your flip-flops, which is what I am wearing as I type this. Flip-flops and a wife-beater in late November. At 10pm at night.
Today the thermostat read 93 degrees and after about twenty minutes of running around outside with Archer we had to rest our sweaty selves under the ceiling fan where we panted like dogs until cool down. Sweating our asses off were we. In mid-November. Four days before Thanksgiving.
Wednesday afternoon we leave for Boulder, CO, where my Aunt and Uncle own a condo and where we will be staying for Thanksgiving and through the weekend. I have been checking the weather every day, keeping my fingers crossed for snow, or if nothing else: cold. Something other than this. So I can justify my scarves and the Dolce and Gabbana gloves I bought on a whim years ago and have thus far only worn driving my ex boyfriend's convertible. (I once insisted we drive all the way home from Vegas with the top down in the middle of winter, just to feel the chill.)
The other day, I almost bought snow from a "snow-vendor" at The Grove. He was selling synthetic snow, non-toxic for the holidays.
"Feel it!" He said. "It even feels cold to the touch!"
"Wow! It DOES feel cold to the touch! What a wonderful invention!"
I was sold. I held my snowy-hand out to Archer who grabbed its contents and poured it in his mouth.
I tried to get as much as I could out of his mouth. He smiled.
"No snow for you, ma'am. Your kid's a liability. No snow for you."
"But? But!? He's fine, sir! Please? Just one bag of snow?"
"No. Please leave ma'am. Please just leave."
You probably think I'm crazy. Unless you're from here. Unless you've been born and raised and spent many an hour with Bing Crosby on repeat. "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas..." and then gone to sleep to really dream it.
Because I have never had one. And it always made me sad, resentful of Christmas mornings and Thanksgiving afternoons trying to bundle up against the chill of air-conditioning and lemonade. And now that I am a mother there is a small part of me that feels sad for Archer, that maybe he won't get to experience the seasons. Leaf-crunching and snow-angels and the like.
I digress. It isn't snowing in Boulder, Colorado and the forecast suggests highs in the 60's which although feels more like Fall than our endless summer, isn't exactly the snow-garden I imagined it would be.
"I wish it could snow here one day," I say to Hal.
"No you don't. The snow sucks," he says back. "It gets in the way and you have to shovel every morning just to get your car out of the driveway and it's a real pain in the ass."
But he grew up in New York, a stone's throw from where I was born in New Jersey. Where it snowed all winter long. Where I pined to be.
Of course I had a wonderful childhood and loved growing up in a So-Cal beach town and wouldn't trade it in for the world, except that every year, around this time I wish that I had some memory of this:
And so I make a pact to myself that even if it doesn't snow in Colorado. Or in Los Angeles (because seriously, who am I kidding, right?) that one day I will be able to bring snow home to my family. Somehow. Some way. Snow.