The Sameness of SoCal Weather and More Observations From the Year's Beginning

The fog lingered on Friday until late in the morning in my neighborhood. In Seal Beach (on the littoral border between Los Angeles and Orange counties), the fog persisted into the middle of the afternoon. Seal Beach's Main Street, which runs perpendicularly from Pacific Coast Highway to the head of the Seal Beach pier, was wrapped in thick, damp gray.

Elsewhere that January 3, local temperatures neared 80 degrees ... a different kind of beach weather. (Like today's.)

When we talk of weather in Los Angeles, we mean the weather's sameness. Fog at one end of the county and beach temperatures at the other are not what we usually mean. We usually mean that we hardly ever notice the weather, unless it's 10 below somewhere else, and we're watching the Rose Parade in flip-flops and shorts.

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Main Street in Seal Beach was busy at mid-day on Friday. Pedestrians blurred into the fog at the southern end of the street, where it stops at the bluff that drops down to the sand. There were people along the low-tide margin of the water: two surfers in wet suits undressing, some families with beach towels looking out to the missing horizon, and boys in board shorts playing catch with a football as the slack waves washed up their legs.

Weren't they all freezing?

Three stolid pelicans bobbed on the water. Some ducks dived in near unison nearby. The gulls kept to the pier railing, looking disconsolate and unwilling to move. A few fishermen worked their poles over the side.

A foghorn lowed out in the bay. Another sounded, perhaps from one of the oil platforms or from an anchored tanker.

Midway out, the pier had no beginning or end. Fog swallowed both. The weather became a metaphor for the start of the year. Where I had come from and where I was going were equally wrapped in obscurity.

A busker picked at a guitar at the pier head, her reedy voice not carrying far in the fog. French students from the international program at Cal State Long Beach hurried past. I wondered if they felt cheated of the golden land they had expected.

About the Author

D. J. Waldie is the author of "Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir" and "Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles." He is a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times.
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