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Dear Californians: It's called weather

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OCTOBER 20, 2016

After coming to UC Berkeley, you learn one thing about Golden State natives: Weather freaks them out. If the temperature isn’t between 70 and 80 degrees, you can bet there will be Snapchats, Facebook posts and Instagram pictures complaining about it. Since we’re now immersed fully into fall, we’ve already begun to see the effects such changes are having on our Californian friends.

It all begins when the temperature jumps from a breezy 70 degrees to a scorching 85 degrees in a matter of days. All of a sudden, mayhem sets in. With the lack of air conditioning to maintain their body’s comfortable condition, people began to change. That once-sweet girl from San Diego who sat next to you in class and smiled every day has somehow been transformed. She now seems to have the demeanor of a decaffeinated zombie dragging herself into class, only to lifelessly drop down to her seat and mumble an inaudible hello. Not only that, but your friend from Monterey Bay also lets out an animalistic screech anytime he steps outside of his air-conditioned car onto campus.

This brings us to the highly likely theory that Californian’s skin burns off when overexposed to heat, like Edward Cullen.

Once it cools down again, it seems that everyone has returned to normal. But there’s another problem on the horizon: liquid from the sky. Or, as everyone else in the world calls it, rain. Since California has been in a severe drought for the past five years or so, locals have lost all memory and knowledge of precipitation. So when it rains, people are left vulnerable.

As you grab your raincoat and umbrella, your roommate proceeds to walk outside in their usual attire: flip-flops and shorts. When you point out the abnormal weather, they simply shrug in denial and say they’ll be fine.

Once you’re on campus, you see multiple students running for their lives, shielding their heads with notebooks, looking for sanctuary from the sky’s wrath (one of whom is your roommate, who now realizes what a terrible wardrobe choice he has made).

Later, when you’re taking the bus back home, you observe that everyone looks like they’ve encountered the storm of the century. Shaking from the cold, drenched head to toe with water sloshing in their shoes, passengers are staring dolefully out the window. You would’ve thought that their dog just died if you weren’t aware of how traumatizing rain can be for those unaccustomed to such weather.

Now that you’ve seen the effects that a little water has on your Californian friends, you try to imagine them in the snow. Because this phenomenon only occurs in niche areas within the state, many in California have only been exposed to this wonder through folktales and Hollywood movies.

But, you’re able to recall that one time you took your significant other from Bakersfield to the snowy mountains during winter break. When driving up the winding roads, you were able to see their face light up in astonishment. They then began to ask questions like a toddler who just began to talk: “Does it always snow up here? How do people drive on these roads? What if they want to go for a walk? Are people more pale because it’s too cold to tan?”

You can only chuckle at their bewilderment. But once out in the snow, they look like they’re prepared to climb Mount Everest. Wearing a full body snowsuit with pockets fully stocked with hand warmers, you remind them that they’re only walking from the hotel lobby to the restaurant just outside. But they insist their five coats are necessary. Well, at least they won’t complain about being cold.

While it’s easy to mock Californians for their overreactions to weather, who’s complaining? California’s a beautiful state with some of the best weather in the country. That’s part of the reason you and so many others enjoy residing in the Golden State. And who knows, maybe in a couple of years, you too will be sending Snapchats to your out-of-state friends exclaiming how you’re freezing your butt off because it’s 60 degrees.

Contact Kirsty Fowler at [email protected].

OCTOBER 19, 2016