A Toast To San Francisco's Real Summer

"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

I’m going to ask this once, and I’ll ask it nicely: Please stop complaining about how sad you are that summer’s ending. How can August be over already, where did summer even go? I’ve lived in San Francisco for years, and I don’t want to hear it. Anyone worth their weight in kombucha, açaí bowls, and the barest minimum of knowledge about the City by the Bay knows that summer here is colder than Mark Twain’s “coldest winter.” He never actually said that, by the way — the quote was misattributed to him, and now who knows who really said those infamous words?

And by summer, I mean mid-June, July, and August: The time when everyone on our collective Instagram feeds seems to be riding jet skis on a lake somewhere. But here in San Francisco? It's a whole 'nother story.

The fog clings pearly-white to your skin as blustery winds creep beneath your thickest parkas and between the holes of your warmest scarves. Any attempt at using a hair straightener will be rendered utterly pointless by the overt amount of moisture in the air, creating a mist that hangs in the trees. (Hey, at least you can push it that much longer without a carwash.) Finding parking here more often than not involves a sprint across the arctic tundra outside from your car to your front door — and it’s uphill, besides.

I live about a 10 minute drive from Ocean Beach, people. Winter is coming? It's been here, at least for July and August.

But I’ll be the first to say I’ve always found something downright magical about the fog: It’s full of secrets, glinting with mischief, and hey, it even has an Instagram account. (Hi, Karl!) But there’s something just not right about being buried deep within the fog in July, August, and even early September. It means that working from home involves bundling up in cozy socks and my favorite faux fur throw. And, okay, it’s not like we’re reaching polar vortex levels here, but it’s still pretty damn frigid.

But that’s where “Indian” summer comes in. Trust me, I know the term may not be politically correct, but many have come to regard it as the the defining term of that bout of unseasonably warm weather that occurs in San Francisco from September through October. According to the Bold Italic, the phrase may have originated from Albert Matthews' Monthly Weather Review of February 1902, in which it's said that Native American tribes believed “the warm autumn winds came from a benevolent god, offering a brief respite from the oncoming winter.” 

I’m not not on board with this belief, and frankly, by the time those warm autumn winds finally arrive in the city, I couldn’t be happier. Thanks, Benevolent One!

No matter what you call it, after months of the coldest winter that is summer in San Francisco — the glorious real summer in the city couldn’t come soon enough. So, all throughout August you can find me bundled up in my favorite Red Riding Hood-esque crimson coat; curled up in faux fur stoles and Christmas socks; and holding hands with “Karl” as I walk home from cold beaches shrouded with mist. But now that it’s September? Game on, San Francisco: Summer is just beginning.