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San Francisco’s Karl the Fog visits LA, and everyone’s losing it

Fog is simply a natural part of life in San Francisco. | Stephen Lam via Getty Images

Is foggy weather to blame for why you feel sad sometimes?

The Los Angeles Times published a story Thursday noting that it’s been extra foggy this spring across LA and exploring whether the weather phenomenon that people in the Bay Area experience regularly can bring everybody down a little

The unshocking conclusion? Yes, it can! The recommendations for boosting your mood were equally banal: Take a hike, have friends and consider antidepressants.

San Francisco would like a word. Particularly those who live west of the DMV at the beginning of the Panhandle, where the sun seldom shines at all this time of year. 

But before you Angelenos talk to your health care providers about Zoloft because the high only hit 63 today, consider why a foggier-than-average spring could cause a mass outbreak of severe seasonal depression across the Southland. June Gloom has expanded to include May Gray because the ocean has been especially cold this spring, and that’s causing a marine layer of Bay Area proportions. Scientifically speaking, it’s foggier.

There may be cultural reasons for the sadz, too. Flowery, romantic May is typically the loveliest month virtually everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere—“white sweet May again,” as the poet William Carlos Williams put it. 

Not in San Francisco, of course. There are always those days in May when the fog doesn’t burn off at all—not Downtown, not in the Mission, not even along the Central Waterfront at the city’s eastern edge. It’s easy to have sympathy for emo Angelenos, because to live in LA is to feel entitled to good weather. It’s their birthright, like bragging about an alternative to the 405 that takes a shortcut through El Segundo.

In SF, when the fog finally melts off at 11:30 a.m. only to whoosh back in before 4 p.m., it’s easy to feel deprived of an opportunity to day-drink some Trulys in Dolores Park and get a salted caramel from Bi-Rite Creamery. Presumably, work-averse residents of Silver Lake would love to kick it with some White Claws in Griffith Park, so we sympathize. 

You can just see it now: A sinister pall, Karl’s more cinematic southern equivalent, slowly encroaching from Venice and Marina Del Rey, engulfing all the juice bars on Abbot Kinney and eventually snuffing out every last Erewhon, one by one, before spreading to the valet parking stands of Culver City and Mid-Wilshire. Miles inland, not even Eagle Rock and Highland Park are safe from its slightly misty clutches. At last, the entire Los Angeles Basin is smothered. Millions of voices drawl out in terror and are suddenly silenced: “Bummer.”

Now, let’s be fair about a couple of points, because it’s not as if San Franciscans are a hardy breed. When we agree that this past winter was “brutal,” we mean the life-giving rain that never once turned into a slushy, wintry mix was … historically above average. It’s not that we ever had to bundle up to move the garbage cans or that the undersides of our Foresters rusted out from road salt. Our meteorological good fortune warps our perspective just as much as those soft-bellied Southern Californians, too. But for us, heavy fog is simply a way of life.

Get a grip, Los Angeles. San Franciscans may whine about the weather, but at least we own it.