Saturday, February 25, 2023

in the rain or snow

The weather reports here have been predicting showers, but instead we've been getting heavy rain, the kind we had during the big storms in January. And with much stronger winds, thus - with the soaked ground for an assist - causing an unusually large number of treefalls, blocking roads and cutting power.

And, with fairly low temperatures, in the mountains and even in the lower hills (say 1000 ft elevation) there's been snow. This is uncommon but not really surprising in those places; it's about as common as, say, an earthquake bigger than a minor tremor. It's more surprising when the snow gets down to sea level, as it did in Santa Cruz. Not for 30 or 40 years?

What's taken people not from here by surprise is the warnings for blizzards "in Los Angeles." No, those are for the high mountains, 4000 feet up. Hardly anyone lives up there, or even drives. At lower levels, less snow, but still only in the mountains. The idea of huge snowdrifts covering Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, the way they do in places like Minnesota, is purely imaginary. In LA, snow in the mountains is worth noting, but not startling or unusual.

It once gave rise to one of the great japes in SF fandom, about 40 years ago, which I'll tell you about now.

As Charles Curley told the story - I'll be quoting his account from memory now - he was driving along the freeway one day and noticed that "not only were the Hertz Rent-a-Mountains* back, but they were covered with snow. Snow. In Los Angeles. Marty Cantor lives here. Marty Cantor hates snow. Marty Cantor moved to Los Angeles to get away from the snow. Yet here the snow was, right on Marty Cantor's doorstep. Marty Cantor's doorstep? Wait a minute. A mad, insane plan was born."

So Charles recruited some friends and drove up into the mountains with a pickup truck and shovels. They loaded snow onto the tarp in the truck bed and took it back down, and then, in the quiet of the night, unloaded a big pile of it by the (outdoors) entrance to Marty Cantor's apartment. When a neighbor came by and asked what they were doing, they said, "He misses the snow."

Marty was really touched that they cared enough about him to pull the stunt, but he added, "Don't ever do that again."

*Sometimes called that because smog renders them often invisible

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