Picture summer: buzzing cicadas, beach towels, kids with juiceboxes, women in revealing bikinis, and lazy bike rides. Now picture summer in the Bay Area:
When I picture summer I smell sad, unnecessary sunscreen and angry, freezing tourists. And as much as I hate them taking my parking places and walking in the middle of the street, I feel for them, I really do. Because they come here, from maybe the Central Valley, and maybe further, expecting sunny California, the golden state, to dish out yellow beaches and piña colada weather. Not in California del Norte, oh no.
On really cold July days, one of the most common questions we get at the store (aside from “where is the bathroom?”) is “do you sell sweatshirts?”. This is how two sweatshirt-selling surf shops can both survive in a town of less than one thousand. I’m looking forward to biking down to work today in a wool trench coat. Meanwhile, on the other side of the mountain, it’s probably eighty degrees and sweltering. And when it’s cold over there? You can count on a visit from Satan and his fire slaves over here.
But those days are rare. Surfers don’t mind the weather. They have wetsuits. I met a man yesterday who lives in Hawaii, and has chosen our town as his vacation spot.
The family who bought the house I used to live in are using it as their summer home. Due to depressing, grey weather, they haven’t visited since last Labor Day. Their bikinis wave like tattered white flags on the laundry line.
Then there are the kids who swim anyway, because they live nowhere near a beach, and damn it, they are going to swim. They brave the waves, icy towers of water (less than 50° F.) Their attempts are admirable, but they never make it past mid-thigh.
And so I must leave you, to sell chai tea to shivering tourists with goosebumps the size of dimes. To serve hot soup to the masses of travelers who didn’t get their money’s worth, and need to fill up their cars with ridiculously expensive gasoline. It’s a responsibility I must bear with humility, because these people are why I make 10 bucks an hour.