I will never say a bad word about the fog again. I will never again whine about the summer afternoon cookouts with gray skies and a stiff wind off the ocean. I will never mourn the lack of crickets on a summer evening or suggest that the longer days of July do not matter much when the light is always the color of dark pewter.
I love the fog. I embrace the fog. When I woke up this morning and looked out the window and saw the flat grayness of the sky, I dropped to my knees and thanked the deity of my choice. The heat wave seemed endless. I was in Oakland, where it started later and ended earlier, but still -- 98 degrees on my back deck is unacceptable. If I'd wanted weather like that, I could have lived, well, pretty much anywhere. But there's a reason real estate prices are high here, and that's it. It's the fog premium.
I know I did not have it bad. My electricity was always working. We have ancient street trees that provide shade. My bungalow features that ancient architectural miracle, eaves, so the rooms remained relatively cool for most of the day. Still, my skin was an unhealthy shade of red; sometimes it felt too tight for my body. My clothing stuck to me in unpleasant ways. I took frequent showers. I decided that my best plan was to do nothing at all. Fortunately, I have experience in that area, and was able to use proven techniques.
I do know that other areas of the country routinely put up with this kind of punishment. I've been to St. Louis; I've been to Houston. I have not been hardened in the fires of rural Arkansas, however, and I have my standards. God bless the people of the Midwest, but please God, also bring me the fog again.
Is it global warming? Well, let's see, if the years are getting hotter, and there is more freakish weather -- and both scientific and anecdotal evidence pretty much agree it's happening -- let's take a chance and say, yeah, it's global warming. It's real and it's here. Another two weeks or so of this stuff, and Al Gore's public persona will go from "geeky smart stiff guy" to "prophet who can lead us out of the wilderness."
I had dinner the other night with people who are close to Gore, and they said he really isn't interested in public office. Given what his last experience was like, that's certainly believable. You got Fox News on your back all the time; you got the recycling of such dopey lies as the allegation that he once claimed to have invented the Internet; you probably got someone saying rude things about Tipper. Who needs it? Al Gore is rich; he's generally well liked; he's doing work he considers valuable. Why would he want to be president?
(That dinner is worth a parenthetical paragraph much like this one. We went to a place called Coi, which is apparently right in step with the 21st century, foodwise. The first dish they brought had a little mound of something on the left side of the plate, and a small grease spot on the right side of the plate. The grease spot was in fact essence, and we were instructed to place it on the insides of our wrists and smell it. Oh, the Klaxons of my euphemistically named nonsense detector were screaming. But here's the thing: The food was good. Really good. Howlingly expensive, but oh so tasty. If the place had just been pretentious, it would have made a darn fine column of mockery, but pretension with the cuisine to back it up -- nothing to mock.)
Meanwhile, people were complaining that Spare the Air days were bringing the riffraff onto public transit. Those serene, cool rides of the good old days on BART were replaced with fetid, crowded last-train-out-of-the-hobo-jungle conditions. Then the money ran out, and people went back to their cars, and my, didn't that work out well? The freeways looked like a still from "An Inconvenient Truth." One could merely gaze and repeat, "The horror, the horror."
The way to change this now is for public transit agencies to (a) invest in rolling stock and (b) make all transit free all the time. Of course, that would cost tons of money. How about we end farm supports and stop starting wars? That would free up some extra cash. I know: It's a fever dream.