Weathering SF

San Franciscans are weather wimps. We complain about the ungodly heat on 80 degree days. We put on ski gear when it’s only 50 degrees. We’ll wear fleece in just about any weather.

I’ve learned not to comment about the cold to my sister who lives in New York City. “Oh yeah?,” she’d say, sounding sympathetic at first, before asking darkly for details: “How cold?” And I’d admit that it was a mere 47 degrees.

But here’s our excuse (or at least the one I use frequently):
San Francisco isn’t built for “real” weather.

My office building has no air conditioning. On hot days, we run fans, turn off the lights, eat popsicles and pretend to be productive with our heads on our desks.

Our apartment, like most SF apartments, isn’t well insulated. One window doesn’t close all the way. The other windows appear to be closed but if you are near the windows, you can feel the draft. Our non-functioning fireplace looks charming, until you feel the cold air it lets into the living room. Mr. WholeHog mentioned recently the not uncommon sight of me wearing my down jacket (bought for a February visit to NYC) while sitting on the couch in the living room this past winter (and sobbing since for some reason, I read an endless stream of sad books this winter).

When I arrived at my sister’s apartment in Hell’s Kitchen on a clear, cold day in February, she greeted me in jeans, a t-shirt and bare feet. It was downright balmy in her apartment.

Mr. WholeHog and I are used to hotter and colder temperatures. We grew up in the foothills which my dad liked to brag was “7 degrees cooler than the valley” in the summer, but when it was 100 degrees, that 7 degree difference didn’t matter to me at all.

But since moving to SF, we’ve adapted to the coast. We now agree that anything about 70 is hot and anything below 50 is cold. That SF can go from 54 degrees to 70 degrees in a 24 hour time span is just part of the craziness of living here.


Except for those foggy July days, SF’s weather has become something we like about The City, and something that makes it hard to leave. Like all middle class San Franciscans, though, we know we will likely have to leave The City if we ever want to own a place, have a dog or a garden. But whenever we kick around possible alternative places to live (all within a 20 minute drive from SF), Mr. WholeHog says, but what about the heat? How will we stand it?


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