How soon things change. A few weeks ago I was high on the golden hog, and now it’s a struggle just to keep my eyes open amongst all the chill and gloom of August. If you're living in the United States, you probably have no idea what I mean unless you live in Alaska. Or San Francisco. Believe it or not, last week it was even colder here in SF than it was in Anchorage. The culprit: fog.
Sure, there is a certain beauty to the vaporous gatherings of the marine layer. The San Francisco Chronicle recounted environmentalist Harold Gilliam's picturesqe depiction of the many variations of Bay Area fog, including “wreaths and domes over Alcatraz; arches over the Golden Gate Bridge; eddies and fog falls that look like cascades over Twin Peaks in San Francisco and the Sausalito hills; surges and combers over the Peninsula and past the top of the hill in Daly City; rivers of fog at places like Candlestick Park; and the so-called fog decks, where fingers of fog skip over the bay and into Berkeley.” I’m certainly down with all of that. But that’s just it. I’m down!
Generally speaking, I’ve acclimated to the weather here more than I would have thought possible upon my initial arrival five years ago. I landed here in a July and spent the first six weeks in Pleasanton, across the Bay. The entire time I had to re-live the daily shock of leaving the house in the morning, say around 90°F and emerging from my 40-minute journey on the Bart to low 60s of San Francisco’s Financial District. It only got worse when I moved to the Oceanview and Richmond districts, where it was usually in the high 50s. I don’t think I saw the sun more than 10 days out of the six months each that I lived in those neighborhoods. In particular, mentioning the Richmond always makes people smile as they wax poetic about the bustle of Clement St. with its Asian and Russian vibes and about the proximity of Golden Gate Park. As charming as they are, those elements were not enough to keep me in what felt like a perpetual deep freeze. I maneuvered from living situation to living situation until I finally ensconced myself in the Mission and don’t think it was an accident. The Mission is one of the sunniest, warmest neighborhoods in the city, thanks to Twin Peaks, which serves as a kind of natural fence that the fog tends not to breach. But even here, we’ve been hard pressed to see the sun lately.