San Francisco in summertime

Posted on
Aug 26, 2010

“The coldest winter I’ve ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” – Mark Twain

“Holy f*ck, it’s FREEZING.” – The Everywhereist

Last week, we were waiting in line at a huge, popular ice cream shop with a group of our friends. We all wore jackets. A few of us had scarves. We clustered together for warmth, joking that perhaps ice cream was not the best choice on such a chilly night.

This is August in San Francisco.

Rand and I have learned, thankfully without too much discomfort on our own parts, to check the weather report before leaving for any trip. In the case of San Francisco, we check it two or three times before our flight.

It was 95 degrees in Seattle on this same day.

It was 95 degrees in Seattle on this same day.

Sometimes, it is out of incredulity.

When Rand and I saw the forecast for our last trip, we stared, blankly, at the screen.

“How,” I asked him, “How exactly can it be 50 degrees in August?”

But 50 degrees it was. At night, anyway. And with the strong wind coming off the bay, it felt even colder. Of course, it may simply have been the street we were on. In addition to shockingly cold summers (apparently October is when it really starts to get warm there, and I remember a few early springs that were quite toasty),  the city experiences a menagerie of microclimates: localized weather patterns that vary greatly from one another, despite being ridiculously close together.

The phenomenon isn’t unique to San Francisco, but seems to be a prime example of it.   The patchwork weather patterns are a result of the city’s rumpled landscape. Fog and cold winds from the bay beat against the hills, but never reach the valleys on the other side, which remain warm and sun-drenched (this is a huge over-simplification, but considering how terrible I am at geography, let’s call this a “win” for me, okay?).

Fog dissipates before our eyes in the Castro district.

Fog dissipates before our eyes in the Castro district.

The result? Dressing for San Francisco is an exercise in layering, a constant dance of removing sweaters and unzipping jackets. Sometimes, you wonder if it’s worth it, since the next block will bring something new all together. I’ve been known to freeze or roast through a few streets, because I can’t be bothered.

What’s worse is my resistance to believe that it’s actually going to be as cold as meteorologist and empirical evidence suggest. In the end, I find myself pulling together random layers. It is the logic behind this photo, which I initially posted yesterday:

Sigh. And I look so CONFIDENT, too, in my craziness.

Sigh. And I look so CONFIDENT, too, in my craziness.

When I realized that neither my fleece or my cropped jean jacket would be enough, I had to layer them. The result is … well, whatever. I was warm enough, thankfully, to go for a stroll with my husband through the city. And based on how many freezing tourists I see, wearing newly acquired San Francisco sweatshirts (purchased out of desperation, I’m sure), no one is going to judge.

So if you’re going to go, check the weather report. And bring layers. Many of them. Don’t be fooled by your preconceived notions of the city. The greatest trick San Francisco ever pulled was convincing the world it was part of California.

I hear you, babe.

Leave a Comment

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Here it is, folks. The paperback edition of my book is out today. The hardcover came out more than two years ago, so it's wonderful to know that this story of mine still has life and is, gasp, still selling copies. Don't miss the book that Lauren Graham called "the travel companion you'll be happy you brought along" and that some guy on Twitter said was "immature and stupid." It's available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound. #bookstagram #summerreading #bookworms
  • This lady. ❤️❤️❤️ So proud of her.
  • HAPPY LAUNCH DAY!! I really want to curl up in bed with this amazing novel today, but I can't - for an amazing reason. Because I'm going to be at the Lake Forest Park location of Third Place Books tonight, discussing it with the author, my dear friend @andreadunlop. Lady, I'm so proud of you. ❤️ ❤️❤️ #bookstagram #summerreading
  • Baking in an AirBnB is always an adventure. I didn't have a measuring cup for the flour so I eyeballed it, and had to use a wine bottle as a rolling pin to make these handpies. Not my best work, but @demeritt and @randderuiter seemed cool with the results, so I'm going to accept that sometimes good enough is, well, enough. 🥧🍴
  • "I hit the jackpot." That's how I once heard Michael J. Fox describe his marriage years ago, and it stayed with me. I've never found a better way of describing our relationship than that. Bells ring. Lights flash. Coins spill everywhere. Now, where's my complimentary breakfast?
  • Someone sent Rand socks with his face all over them, and he's really bothered by this but I'm gonna rock the hell out of them.
  • I told him to stop looking at the camera.
  • Eating junk food on the ferry with this guy right before dinner is kind of the dream.
  • Does it still count as photobombing when you love it?
  • Some hardcore stuff happening in the studio today. #muglife #ceramics

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.

BE AWESOME. BUY IT.