It’s that time of year again in Pacifica, a time I call the Dog Sled Days of Summer, the days when the weather report warns of heat waves and sunstroke, but around here our biggest concern is actually hypothermia. Just when we’ve had enough and consider moving to a sunnier location (such as London), Pacifica gives us one of those glorious summer days that make it all seem worthwhile (not unlike an abusive lover).
Some Pacificans suffer from an actual ailment called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. These people are prone to depression and irritability in the winter, and by winter I mean anytime it is foggy, especially summer. All of us experience it to some degree, which explains the bipolar nature of our city in general, expressed by the following mathematical formula: sunny weather=happy people/foggy weather=grumpy people.
If you were to chart the weather records with past letters to the Tribune editor and Riptide blogs, you would probably find a direct correlation between the level of fog and the level of rancor, although I’m too lazy to actually check myself, on account of all the fog.
So next time you find yourself getting mad at the City Council, take a deep breath and blame them for the weather situation, then demand they do something about it. Such as:
1. Create a color-coded fog alert system (blue: the beach is safe, yellow: head for the back of the valley, red: retreat to San Bruno, gray: evacuate to Tracy).
2. Install fog-activated horns, similar to the tsunami sirens.
3. Build special warming stations with giant sunlamps in key neighborhoods.
4. Add antidepressants to the water supply when the solar level drops below a minimum threshold.
5. Issue excuse slips for our employers as needed.
6. Shut down the gun store during extreme fog events.
7. Pass out emergency sweaters to endangered tourists.
8. Increase our greenhouse gas emissions.
9. Initiate an “At Least We Aren’t Seattle” advertising campaign.
10. Leave street lamps on during the day. This will also contribute to #8.
In the meantime, plenty of good things are happening around town to keep our minds off the weather. For one thing, after only 50 years of existence, Pacifica finally has its first Indian restaurant. I went to Ocean of India the night after it opened and the food was great, judging by the fact that there wasn’t any left by the time I got there.
Also opening: Palmetto Organic Grocery Store, featuring organic produce, organic garbage bags, and free-range latex condoms. They get their produce from a farm near Sacramento, which works out great because produce grows better there but keeps better here.
The recent Daniel Castro concert at The Sanchez rocked so hard they blew out the power and Daniel finished the night by serenading the crowd with his unplugged Dobro. It was a magical way to end the show, and I recommend they do that every night from now on, like the James Brown cape routine.
Pacifica Film night featured a movie about the Trips Festival, a San Francisco concert in 1965 that some consider the world’s first rave. The movie included interviews of both of the participants who still can remember it.
For years we have been begging Trader Joe's to open a store here, to no avail, but now we are getting the next best thing: Fresh & Easy, which is like a cute little teeny-weeny Trader Joe's. The chain, opening its first Peninsula store in Pedro Point, can cram its goods into a smaller area by judicious use of ampersands. They reportedly have unbeatable prices on 5-packs of beer, 11-packs of eggs, and a baker's half-dozen muffins.
My personal favorite place for a foggy Wednesday is the farmers market. There’s nothing like a just-picked local strawberry to perk up a gray summer day. That and a 10-minute chair massage from Michelle Coxon, although she has to work extra hard to massage me through my parka. Saucy Joe's Knife Sharpening is also excellent but should be avoided on particularly depressing days.
So don’t despair. Fall is just around the corner, and with it the promise of glorious fall weather. We will then finally need sunscreen and bathing suits, just after Rite Aid stops stocking them.
Ian Butler is host of Laugh Locally on PCT 26, broadcast at 10 o'clock on Friday and Saturday nights. His column appears in the Pacifica Tribune and is adapted here for Pacifica Riptide by permission.