As the Central Valley broils at 100 degrees just 50 miles inland, San Francisco can remain enveloped in fog all day during the summer, the temperature never leaving the 50s. This phenomenon was most pronounced for me when I used to commute to Pleasanton on the opposite side of the coastal ridge 10 years ago, sweating in shorts as I boarded the train on the way home, only to emerge from the subway an hour later to the biting winds swirling around the San Francisco Civic Center.
My new job, which is just south of The City provides me with a new variation on the theme, with weather that seems to alternate between either blistering hot in the afternoon as I wait for the shuttle bus to take me to the train, or 40-mile-an-hour frigid winds sweeping over the fog-covered hills of South San Francisco. I transfer from the bus to the train at Balboa Park on the west side of San Francisco, which is dependably foggy. I depart the train for my walk home to Hayes Valley through the Mission, which is sheltered from the wind somehow, but for this summer, is still not its usual sunny self.
After an uncommonly long winter of rain and cold, San Francisco is now in the midst of one of coldest and darkest Julys I can remember. I’m not the only one complaining as I see friends on Facebook complaining about down comforters and winter hats and scarves in response to those sweltering on the East Coast. But I understand this is the price to pay for living in San Francisco, and a wintery summer is still a good trade-off for an actual winter-winter in the Midwest.