||[Aug. 18th, 2019|02:28 am]
Nothing about this place makes any sense!Saturday made four days in a row that I didn't get out of this apartment. I thought about it, but come seven o'clock in the evening it was still just too damned hot. Two things I do not understand: Why people live in the Central Valley at all, but since they do, why they do not spend the summer naked but for shoes (the pavement gets blistering hot,) slathered in sunscreen and carrying parasols. |
So I made tuna sandwiches for dinner, then about eight o'clock felt so crappy I decided to lie down for a while, and next thing I knew I woke up and it was after midnight. Now what do I do? Well, I try looking at pictures of cats on the Internet until my brain starts to function, only my brain doesn't start to function— not properly, anyway. Maybe its charge is low. A couple of nights ago I lost the Internet because I forgot to charge my phone again. Maybe my brain needs to be plugged in to something, but what? The only thing I can think of is chocolate, so now I'm eating chocolate. It might work.
Tonight is supposed to get down to 62 degrees, but it's nowhere near that low yet. The outdoors is quite balmy. It would be perfect for a very pleasant afternoon at the beach. Not so good for the night before a 90-degree day. I'd really like to get this place cooled down before I try to go back to sleep, but both the cooling and the sleep might be impossible. I think I might make a malted. All the ingredients are here. There are even a couple of straws I snagged last time I was at Taco Bell. A malt is always better through a straw.
Oh, the nearby crickets have both fallen silent tonight. I hear one cricket, though very faintly, so he must be some distance off. I guess I didn't hear him before because the nearby crickets drowned him out. Both of these things are making me feel very sad.
Why ever would anyone live in such a place?
I was being a bit hyperbolic, I guess, in pretending ignorance. People live in the valley (in considerable numbers) because there are a whole lot of jobs here. A lot of them have to do with agriculture and food processing, but California's Anglo forefathers were also cruel enough to put the State Capitol here, in Sacramento, so loads of public employees must endure the sweltering summers and foggy winters, when I'm sure most of them would rather be in the pleasant seaside city of Monterey, which was the capitol during the Spanish and Mexican periods.
As for Chico, it has many public employees as well, many at the State University, though it also has a lot of agribusiness (one of the state's main almond growing regions is centered here) and in recent decades has also gotten more industrial jobs, most notably at the Sierra Nevada Brewery, which is the second largest craft brewing outfit in the country, after Boston's Samuel Adams.
I suppose I could console myself with the knowledge that as bad as Chico's climate is, the valley gets worse the farther south you go. The two major metropolitan centers below Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield, now each house about a million miserable souls who must endure not only the climate but considerable amounts of air pollution, which has not yet had such a serious impact this far north in our less populous region. I could console myself, but I don't. I still don't much like being here.
Yet there you are. I guess that what I was really wondering about.
In 1959, my mother, brother, and I took a train from Missouri to Sacramento. My aunt lived in Fresno then. It was 109 when we stepped off the air conditioned train. I thought I'd die. My cousin still lives in that area in Clovis. He tells me the air quality is lousy and the heat still bad and yet he stays.
What is it about California?
I think a lot of people who have lived in the valley a long time have just gotten used to the heat. Also they might consider the few hellish weeks of the summers to be a small price to pay for the relative mildness the rest of the year. Plus a lot of those who are well-to-do manage to get away to the mountains or the coast for a while every summer.
A lot of the low-income housing lost Paradise started off as summer weekend cabins for prosperous professionals and business people from the valley, and many of them still have such places in other, smaller mountain towns, though I think these days they are more likely to have big RVs they can take to campgrounds instead.