July 21, 2011, Washington, DC: In today’s heat (real feel 110), it’s a valid question: How much does climate play a role in where you choose to live?
I can say with certainty that climate lured me to San Francisco, Brisbane, Australia, and a mountain summer spent in Jackson, Wyoming. On this humid night, I’d give anything for a dry summer evening in the shadow of Grand Teton National Park, perfecting our fly fishing form casting over the backyard. I’d die for an outdoor drink at Brisbane’s Royal Exchange where it’s winter tonight. But I ache most of all for a cozy, pasta dinner at San Francisco’s Nob Hill Café.
Weather was certainly not a factor in my decisions to move to DC or Chicago. That was clear during my first summer job search here in DC, spent ducking into coffee shops to cool off and change my shirt before interviews. My first Chicago snowfalls are memorable, too: They are the days I realized there’s no hidden joy in snow days when there are enough plows to clear the streets and carry on.
Yes, if I had to choose one of my former hometowns strictly based on weather, it would be San Francisco. Even with its fog and cold. I miss mild winters and chilly nights and microclimates. I miss leaving the house in a dense fog, driving across the Golden Gate through clearing clouds, going through Sausalito’s rainbow bridge, and emerging on the other side into a fabulously sunny day. I think it’s nice that San Francisco kids never waste a second negotiating snowsuits and mittens and boots to play outside. Mostly, though, I think I’d again like to live two doors down from Nob Hill Café. I think I’d like to spend more neighborhood nights there, sipping red wine, eating pasta with pesto sauce, indulging in chocolate ganache, and feeling the fog roll in in the cold of July.
As long as I’m here, I need to remember the flip side, too: That there is something wonderful about experiencing a full range of seasons. I need to remember that the first warm weather day on Chicago’s Lake Michigan is cause for a party, and that it’s strange to look back on San Francisco photos and have no idea what month it is because we’re always dressed in t-shirts and fleece.
I need to remember on nights like these that many of those evenings sitting outside Nob Hill Café were spent reminiscing about hot summer nights Back East. And night swimming. And wearing shorts.