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Can a Brother Get a Coldsnap? A Heatwave? RAIN?

2004-03-14 - 5:57 p.m.

The weather outside is perfect. Too perfect.

I am not in Austin at the moment. I am in Berkeley, California, doing the first of my grad school visits. I am about to have a minor breakdown because of the insane gorgeousness of the weather.

The sun is shining. There are wispy white clouds in the sky. There is a cool breeze blowing in through the window. It had been this way, non-stop, since I got here. I don't know if I can handle it. March isn't even this perfect in Austin, and that's saying a lot.

It was certainly never this wonderful in Philadelphia in March. At best, there may have been one day where you could go out in short sleeves, and a few where you could manage a long sleeved t-shirt. Otherwise, you were still well bundled. After my first year in Philly, I understood what Dar Williams said about February being the longest month of the year, often lasting into March. Thank God for spring break or I may have thrown myself into the Schuykill River, where I would not have drowned but rather bounced and then slowly dissolved.

I think this weather would eventually drive me insane were I to go here. You see, over my four years of college, I spent the winter in Philadelphia and the summers (for the most part) in Texas. Many would say that I got the worst of both worlds, but after a couple of years I felt confident in my ability to survive harsh weather. While my Southern friends would shiver and complain when having to go outside to smoke in December, I walked out in shorts. While my Northern friends melted in the August heat, I felt energized and refreshed. I did a good job of making everyone hate my guts, but I got to feel superior, in my own little way, and that's what counts every time.

It also caused me to measure time by temperature extremes. During my first summer in Philadelphia, I ranted with frustration every time I had to go outside at night wearing long pants and long sleeves, because I was used to 86 degrees at 3am in mid-July. Likewise, as one of my earlier entries had noted, I spent my first Not Summer in Texas longing for snow, and not the light frosting that Austin got one night this year, but the driving snow that would pile up drifts that would become cover in snowball wars, which certain people who shall remain nameless and probably dateless cheated during. They're not called ice balls for a reason, assholes.

So I come here and I find out that from late February to early November the weather is mild and sunny, warm during the day and cool at night. It never gets so hot or so cold that you can't go outside, and beach season is well underway. How the Hell can people live like this? No wonder they say that Northern California makes you soft. I'd turn into pudding if I had to deal with April all year round.

Actually, no, it's worse. I'd turn into a big health freak. I'd go walking all the time, and maybe even go walk on the beach and swim in the ocean. Who wants to live like that? Austin keeps you honest via sweltering heat that suffocates all the energy out of you for a solid three months with an option on five. When it's cooler, we bring in the rain to keep you inside. I don't have a tan for a reason, people, and frankly I like things that way.

God, I might be tan if I came here. Someone please shoot me.

Also, there are flowers everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. There are flowers growing out of people's heads, I swear to God. I walk by every house in this neighborhood and their front lawns are covered in lilacs and lilies and rosemary and wisteria and gardenias and agapanthi and roses and irises and flowers that I have never seen in my life. Monet would eventually develop crippling arthritis in a place like this. Everywhere is green green green splashed with vibrant purples, soft oranges, rich reds, and pure-as-the-driven-snow-not-that-anyone-who-lives-here-would-have-a-basis-for-comparison white. And if he got tired of the gardens, who could work on the sky, which is just as big and colorful as the one in Texas. The sun is going down as I right this, and it's oddly familiar.

Seriously, anyone who lived here would drown and choke on the beauty. They would go nuts. No wonder they call it Berzerkley.

I'm not fooling you, am I?

I'm not fooling me either.

It is breathtaking here and I absolutely love it. The people I've met have been diverse, engaging, and intelligent. There are big huge dorks (just like me) who love comic books and Tori Amos, and people who practically drip cool on the carpet. The English program is excellent and the performance studies program new and developing. The creative, academic, and artistic communities work hand in hand. San Fransisco is a 20 minute train ride away. The Castro is full of queers of all shapes and sizes, a few of whom might just fit me. Yes, it's expensive, and yes, it's such a paradise that I think it might spoil me for anything, but right now I can't imagine turning this place down.

Hopefully, I'll have the exact same response to Duke, Stanford, Columbia, and NYU. But if not, I will readily sign my next six years out to this amazing university in this gorgeous part of the country.

Come visit me if I do! Bring extreme weather, if you can. These people need to get shaken up a little

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The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
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Cowboys and Medievalists - 2005-01-30

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