One might argue that living in Southern California, weather wise, is an endless sequence of the same blue sky and 70 degrees sunny days. And one would be wrong. We might not have the falling of the leaves or the gently falling snow, nor does the light change in any dramatic fashion, but there are clues that Spring has finally stepped aside to let Summer in, while we were too busy to notice.
- The days start gloomy and foggy, bearing a striking resemblance to any November morning in Milan – minus the freezing temperatures and the clanging of the tram. Heated seats in our cars are a waste of options but fog lights do come in handy this time of the year. On most days, the fog will recede to let the sun through but those four or five hours of June gloom – always stretching into July – are just glorious.
- With every single school finally closed, and day camps starting later in the day, the morning commute is approaching bearable levels. In the absence of any sig alerts, one can actually leave the house hoping to breeze through to work.
- Going to the beach on week-ends, anywhere from Ventura to the South Bay, is out of the question – unless you want to contend with European tourists, families with too many children, highway robbery parking rates and gridlock traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway. Better to take a few days off work early in the week and venture out to any Malibu beach for unobstructed views of the surfers and of the lifeguards ensconced in their baby blue Baywatch-style cabins.
- Planning to shop on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, any day or night of the week, cannot be done until September. In addition to the European tourists and families with too many children, you will also have to contend with throngs of Asian tourists (who don’t go to the beach) and packs of out of school and bored teenagers.
- The reservations usually start pouring in between January and March but plans don’t get firmed up until late Spring. At that point, I will have a calendar of who is coming to stay when, one of the pleasures (and drawbacks) of living in a vacation destination. This Summer, at Pensione Cevenini (as my husband calls our house – it’s invariably my family and friends who come to visit) we are fully booked for the season. I am mulling the purchase of one of those No Vacancy neon signs to hang on the front gate.
- Plans for evacuation and different stages of preparation for humans and animals in case of fire are updated and revised. Once the June gloom gives way to the hot and dry winds, any day is a good day for your house to burn down.
- Rattlesnakes spend the central part of the day holed up in “air-conditioned” or otherwise dark corners of the yard, and then come out to enjoy the cool when the sun goes down and I take out the grill. Every Summer we have to negotiate a truce on who stations where, while the dogs are kept tucked inside.
- The families of mice who set up camp around the house during the winter, slowly start to disappear over the Summer, preyed upon by snakes and hawks. It’s a bit like having the Animal Channel outside the kitchen window when, while washing up, I will spot a hawk perform a swift landing and fast take-off in my yard, with four little legs wiggling from his talons. It’s never a good Summer for the mice.
Wherever you are in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy your Summer. If you are in L.A., look me up but, unless I experience an unexpected string of cancellations, don’t bother trying to book at this Pensione.
“No vacancy” image found in the public domain. Others, copyright of C&S