Can You Believe This Weather?
Let’s get the disdain out of the way right from the get-go. I am from Southern California; Los Angeles to be exact. Every day is 70s or 80s and sunny, and a beach is only 20 minutes away no matter where you live in LA proper. I’m spoiled when it comes to the weather.
Moving to New York City was an uncomfortable adjustment in many ways, but a top-three concern, after how expensive it was, and not having a job to remedy how expensive it was, was the weather. I had internal conversations with myself to mentally prepare for all of the frigid, gray, gloomy days ahead. By mid-August I was staying at the Harlem YMCA, and winter (or at least what felt like winter at the time) hit by the beginning of October after I moved to Brooklyn.
February came and I was okay. Apparently the preparation for borderline depression worked. I had deployed my arsenal of two new heavy coats, an easily layered capsule wardrobe, an obsession with scarves, a couple pairs of long johns, and wool socks; and hunkered down. Four months in and I was still fine. The weather was no longer a concern, until it seemed that everyone around me couldn’t stop talking about it.
Native New Yorkers, old transplants, new transplants, and tourists alike seemed to all be whining and commiserating. Soon I found myself roped into conversations about it. I had never given so many thoughts or words to the weather. I thought: Why is the guy from LA complaining the least? You should be used to this. Just grin and bear it. I thought New Yorkers were supposed to be the toughest MFs on the planet. You all are a bunch of punks right now. What is this seasonal affect disorder nonsense?
Then two more months went by and winter was still going strong. I broke. I see why it seemingly dictated everyone else’s lives. Day after gray day wears you down. Subway cars shrink and commuters are more ornery. Friends become distant acquaintances in a galaxy far far away. Netflix has nothing left to suggest that you haven’t already seen. The undefinable rain/sleet/snow/hale even threatens your Easter plans.
But, in New York, while the weather can keep you sullen for six months, it can also dismantle that gloom like the Office Space printer in one day. Inevitably, the sun reappears, and New Yorkers have such an uncontained appreciation for a nice day outside that it is inspiring, even if overzealous. Bikinis, tan lotion, sunscreen, frisbees, footballs, picnic blankets, etc. are all out in full force on a sunny day in the low-60s. Free patches of grass in the most densely populated areas are hard to come by. The exuberance and pure joy extracted from solely the sunlight is simply heartwarming to see.
So who is living better? Is it the New Yorkers who are miserable for a cruel and unusually long amount of time, but appreciate each and every nice day as it if were the last (because it could very well be)? Or is it the Angelenos who could spend entire gorgeous days inside because they know another is 24 hours away?
The palpable regret of missing an exquisite day in NYC can weigh heavy on the soul. But I could argue the apathy a nice day in LA can receive does not even engage the soul. I was confidently (arrogantly) on the side of my fellow West Coasters, thinking the no-stress life was the way to go. But NYC’s fervent appreciation of a nice day is pretty damn intoxicating, even to the most jaded of New Yorkers.
I must confess. I still want to move back to LA after I’ve defeated the beast that is NYC on my own terms. There is a long list of reasons why, which I’m sure no one would be interested to read, but the weather is no longer an item on that list.