What?s with Sacramento?s schizophrenic winter weather?

Greg Kane

Being a native of the East Coast, there are a number of things I?m still trying to comprehend about being a “Californian.” For instance, I?ve never been able to pick up the slow drawl of the Western accent, sounding more like Vinny Barbarino than a native when I order a cup of “caw-ffee.” I?ve also never understood why nobody ever takes the bus anywhere (at least not until I saw how half-assed Sacramento?s public transportation is), and I don?t think I?ll ever grasp the concept of putting ranch dressing on food (maybe salad, but pizza? I don?t think so).

Oh, and I still don?t know how to dress for what Northern Californians constantly try to pass off as winter.

You see, where I come from, all you have to do is look at the calendar in the morning to decide what today?s wardrobe will be. In February, one would be wise to wear a heavy coat and a sweater, because even the warmest part of the day will be cold enough to render your ears numb. In the spring and summer, dress lightly, but have an umbrella handy. There are some exceptions to these rules, but for the most part they can be taken as gospel if you haven?t had a chance to check the weather report in the morning.

Sacramento, however, is an entirely different creature. Since the semester started a few weeks ago, I?ve found myself both clumsily lugging my jacket around campus as the hot sun beat down on me and fighting arctic winds on the way to class on days I decided it would be OK to forgo said jacket. I?ve gone to bed basking in pleasant, spring-like weather, only to wake up to the bleakest conditions this side of England. It?s as if Mother Nature is getting her kicks at my expense: “Greg?s wearing a T-shirt today? Let?s see how he handles a foot of snow!”

Am I the only person falling victim to the schizophrenic state of Sacramento?s weather? If I don?t bundle up in the morning for my 9 a.m. class, I?m going to freeze to death, but if I dress too warmly I?m going to bake by the time lunch rolls around. This isn?t even taking into account the rain, for which I now suspiciously search the sky for like a shell-shocked war veteran. I now understand why that poor groundhog runs back into its hole every February?I?m getting to the point where I don?t want to leave the house, either.

Who knows? Perhaps I?ve come across a new flawless meteorological prediction system. Whatever Greg decides to wear, you?ll know that the forecast for that day will put him in utter misery. Looking forward to a sunny day? I?ll just throw on a heavy wool sweater and a pair of galoshes, and rest assured everybody will be tanning by midday.

Thankfully, with spring and summer on the horizon, I know that some predictability will return to the weather. Even then, a little change might be nice. After all, having lived through a few Sacramento summers, I don?t think it would bother me too much to leave the house in shorts and find myself fighting off a cold wind.

Greg Kane is a staff member of The State Hornet and can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].