Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Memories of weather

I was a Southern California kid. I no longer feel like I ever was a Southern California kid.

Yes, I was born in Portland and then lived my first 2 1/2 years in Virginia Beach, VA, but my memories don't kick in until -- this is so apropos for a Navy kid -- a day in summer 1976 as my family moved into Rancho Bernardo, CA. My first time in desert; the heavily modified desert of Southern California, but desert nonetheless. So I started remembering the world in a place where it was usually warm and dry. I don't remember it ever being terribly warm, or maybe I just got used to the warmth, but I do remember "terribly dry": the hill to the west of our neighborhood once burned right up to the fence line a few blocks away from our street. No houses were damaged, thank goodness.

My main experience of another environment and its climate was visiting my grandparents in Portland. That's where I first saw snow. And I mean "saw": it was probably in the early 1980s, a Christmas that we spent with the grandfolks, and outside there were flakes. I ran to a bedroom to get more clothes. I bundled up. I must've been really wary of being cold. In the time it took for me to get into outside clothes, the snow flakes had stopped falling. Was I that wary of cold? Maybe so. I was a weird kid. Right now I don't feel like listing the many, many ways I was a weird kid. Anyway.

So it was warm, but really mostly reasonably temperate. Then there was Camarillo, CA, where we moved in, I think, late 1980/early 1981 when I was in first grade. We were there until summer 1982. And HELLO, SANTA ANA WINDS. One of the things I remember about Camarillo: fences after they'd been knocked down. Also? the winds once blew directly down Bronson Street, the west-east road where our rental house was. I took advantage of this. As an experiment, I got out my bike, sat on it, ...and the winds blew me west down the street without my having to pedal. WOOOOOOOOOO. That was cool. I probably had to have a strong grip on the handlebars, though: no raising my arms like I was on a roller coaster. And pedaling back against the wind was a pain. I'm guessing I just gave up and walked the bike back.

So I was getting better about getting out into weather. I regressed a bit come summer 1982 when we moved back to Virginia Beach, where my weak-constitutioned body had to try to breathe humid air again and went Oh HELL no. I remind people that this was a move from desert to a place just north of the Dismal Swamp. Appropriate name. For the first few weeks, just walking outside the air-conditioned house made me feel ill. But, alas, there's no network of underground tunnels or climate-controlled skyways in Virginia Beach -- the place barely has enough east-west expressways -- so I had to bear it. Took me years to really adapt to Virginia humidity. But I had several years to do so. And my body grew up and handled weather better. (Eventually I outgrew carsickness, too. Yes, I had that.)

Thank you, body, for growing up and getting stronger so that I no longer felt like I was held together by spit and baling wire.

This entry has been inspired by the news of how strong the wind's been in Los Angeles. Where I never lived, but which was close to where I lived. At least by Southern California standards.

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