The power has been restored, candles have been stashed away (for the time being) but the emergency phone, the one that doesn’t require electricity (do you even remember those?) is still on the counter. It’s going to be a long week.
The misconception that Los Angeles’ weather doesn’t change is just that, a misconception. We might have uninterrupted months of sun, some lonely clouds, a gentle breeze and a seemingly constant 70 degrees but January and February are unpredictable at best, in June we are constantly fogged in and in September we might as well be living inside a toaster oven.
We need rain badly. The water supplies have been dwindling for over two years with not very many viable alternatives in sight – we might be close to the ocean but our climate is more similar to a desert’s. The rain dances of our American Indian ancestors haven’t yielded any appreciable results – at this point, we have started thinking of el Nino with some fondness. Finally, we have been rewarded with what appears to be a week of torrential rain. In Los Angeles, drizzle is a stranger and the downpours always remind me of the tropics – without the heat.
The house where I live up on a mountain gets enveloped by clouds so thick that the neighbours’ property disappears from view. It’s an eerie feeling more similar to being in a Yorkshire moor than a Californian hillside.
Yesterday morning I was waken up by the hissing of Aeolus’ breath, vomiting all his might on my windows where he found a little crevice that emits a high-pitched sound, that could otherwise be used to revive the dead. By mid-morning, I decided to brave the elements to chaperone some guests visiting from Peru who, having picked the wrong week-end to be in the City of Angels, were otherwise determined to make the most of their time here. We were the only three idiots strolling down Rodeo Drive, eventually having to repair inside Tiffany’s, pretending to be interested in silver hearts until we could pretend no longer. I suspect the sales assistant was actually thrilled by our presence that gave her something to do for ten minutes or so.
For a city that gets rain a few times a year in copious amounts, Los Angeles is ill-equipped for it – streets flood in a matter of hours, drains clog and explode within two days and the mountainous terrain gives out within a week. We take it in stride, planning for longer commutes, for inept drivers with no concept on how to break on wet asphalt and limiting our business to the minimum necessary. It’s the only place I know where people have no qualms about cancelling their plans because it’s raining. Tell that to a Londoner…
By the end of the week, we will be busy mopping up, sweeping the carpet of pine needles, from the backyard and forgetting, for a little while longer, that LA does get extreme weather which, paired with the constant threat of natural disasters, makes you wonder why we are so keen to stay. Then again, the 7.0 temblor could have been ours. It was only rain this time around.