Chillpocolypse…Or How to Survive Winter in California

Posted on December 13th, 2013

A Native Californian, dressed for winter...I kid, I kid.

By the time you read this, The Great California Chillpocolypse of 2013 will be over.  At least, I hope it will be over. I haven’t been this cold since I lived in Canada – and frankly, that’s saying a lot. (And please don’t get me started on Canadian summers*. Suffice to say that about July 15th, millions of Canadians emerge from their homes dressed in tank tops and shorts to bask in the balmy 65-degree weather. It’s like being in Hell, if Hell were cold. And not, you know, filled with fire and brimstone.)

Anyway, the issue here is that I am a Californian. Native Californians have not been bred to withstand cold. We don’t do cold. To us, cold is when the daytime temperature dips below 70. Then, instead of wearing our winter flip-flops (the ones with the faux fur on the straps), we get out our cute booties and scarves and sweaters and we parade around like we’re in the middle of Norway or something.

And coats? Oh, please. To a Californian a coat is a fashion accessory. We have cute coats that match our boots. Or we have thin raincoats that make us all look like spies and also make our waists look smaller. But we don’t have actual winter coats unless we ski or we have to go to North Dakota in May**.

In other words, Californians are not prepared for actual cold temperatures.

Don’t believe me? Check your Facebook. Chances are, your feed is now clogged with a bazillion selfies of Californians taking pictures in their cars of their right eyeball in the rearview mirror. And the mirror is displaying a temperature of 32 degrees. Usually this selfie will post with the status “Brrrrr” or “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

We are freezing, and we don’t like it.

Millions of California children have spent the last week waking up to the unfamiliar sounds of a heater chugging away, trying desperately to make their homes warmer than 65 degrees.  Many of us didn’t realize that the big furnace thing in our garage actually produced heat, because we don’t normally need heat. Well, okay. Sometimes at night. But by then we’re rolled up in our faux down comforters – because real down makes us too hot in winter.

For the first time, many Californians fired up their normally useless fireplaces and stood with their backs to them, emulating what we believe is a practice used by Montanans*** everywhere to warm their backsides. We even braved the chilly air, went outside and used our fire pits for something other than roasting marshmallows.

We have spent the past week wearing gloves for purposes other than fashion. Yes, many Californians actually wore gloves to warm their hands when our lattes failed us by getting tepid after ten minutes in the freezing temperatures. And millions of cell phone calls went to voicemail as Californians slowly learned that we had to take off our gloves in order to answer a call. Or, in my case, play Angry Birds.

But the real horror for Californians everywhere was when the forecasters threatened us with snow. Yes, snow – and possibly to 1,000 foot levels. That’s very nearly in our roads and driveways. We don’t get snow in our roads and driveways unless we drive to Tahoe. And then we need chains. And very large vehicles. Our tiny Priuses do not react well to snow.

And neither do Californians. We enjoy snow, as long as it is kept in its native environment. You know, like water-filled globes on our desks. Or Tahoe. We do not want to step outside in December, cup of coffee in hand, wearing flannel jammies and see snow on a nearby hilltop.

It makes me shiver with fear just to think about it.

But hopefully, by the time you read this, California will be back to normal. All of us will be running around in boots and scarves, getting overheated as we enjoy our usual winter weather of a chilly 60 degrees.

*No Canadians were harmed in writing this post. And no Californians overheated during the writing of this post. Well, OK, one did. But it was because the dog was wearing a very thick sweater.

**FYI, I have never been to North Dakota in May. Or actually at any time in my life. But I’m pretty sure it’s cold there. If it’s not, I apologize and blame myself for my California ignorance. If it is cold there in May, then seriously? Come see Disneyland. It’s totally hot here then.

***I’m not apologizing for Montana. I’ve been there. Lots of toasty butts in Montana in the winter.

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7 Responses to “Chillpocolypse…Or How to Survive Winter in California”

  1. Agent 54 Says:

    Good news! Algore has completely defeated Global Warming. Snow in Egypt!

    So now all the “Climate Warriors” can go home for the Holidays.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Jennifer in Reno! Says:

    LOL – OMG you are too funny!

    I’ve lived in Reno since I was 9 years old. Snow and cold are nothing. I think California’s are cute.

    When I was 17 I’d go out in 10 degree weather in Roxy tank tops and board shorts. My son is not 14 and goes out without a coat in shorts and a tee-shirt. These past two weeks it has gotten to -3 degrees and I find myself in my back yard enjoying a smoke and a coffee in my bathrobe and barefeet.

    I drive a mustang with rear wheele drive. Only this past month did I have to garage it and take my “winter” car since I couldnt get the ’stang up the small hill at the grocery store (had to back down a sheet of ice and go a different way).

    It’s normal for us people over the hill. Lol. Give me 110 degrees though and I’m raging angry. =)

  3. Laurie Says:

    @Agent 54 – not Egypt…California! LOL. Merry Christmas to you, too :)

    @Jennifer in Reno – You peeps who like cold are so foreign to me :) I grew up in the Central Valley, so temps of 110 are nothing. Some nights it only cooled to 95. My son used to race in the Valley and on the track it would be 114 while he was wearing a full fire suit, a helmet and gloves. Hm. Maybe Californians aren’t so wimpy ;) OTOH, I went to the grocery store today and it was 71 out. Everyone was dressed in sweaters with Uggs. Seriously. SMH.

  4. Jennifer in Reno! Says:

    Hey now! I never said I LIKED the cold. I’m just used to it. I would prefer a beach and 85 degree weather year round. =)

  5. Laurie Says:

    LOL. Beach weather is the BEST. :)

  6. Kimberli Says:

    I just stumbled onto your blog. Gotta say, this is hilarious, and I can totally relate! I’m a fellow Californian, and I know VERY WELL exactly which cold spell you were referring too. It was awful. But I did get to wear my cute gloves, which was awesome. ;)

  7. Laurie Says:

    Lol – at least you got to wear the gloves once this year! And now it’s practically shorts weather. It’s crazy. I’m so glad you stumbled in :)

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