Reveling in the hot weather

Editor’s note: Jean Gillette is celebrating the warm weather by taking a week off. Here is one of her favorites on the subject from past autumns.
Well, my sinuses have slammed shut, my lips are cracking, my contact lenses itch and I’m having a regular sneeze-fest. And yet I’m grinning, ear-to-ear. It’s the weather I waited all summer for, sort of.
If anyone ever needs any verification of the arrival of a Santa Ana wind, just give me a holler. My nose always knows. I know we can usually rely on a plume of smoke from somewhere east of us as one solid sign. At least, we always hope it’s somewhere remote and people-free. If not, then I want it to be at my house — my clothes closet specifically.
“I can’t imagine, Fire Marshall! It seems to have been a single spark that just jumped right into the middle of all my old, crummy clothes and shoes that I am sick of. Quite a surprise to me, too. Excuse me, I have to go call my insurance company and go shopping.”
The final proof lies out to sea, as the winds push the smog into a horizon of brown air reminding us that we really need to find alternative fuels. It is always gorgeous at sunset when it turns red, but the words of my old biology professor always ring in my ears. “Those pretty red sunsets just mean scurvy air!”
Meanwhile, even as the warm winds suck all the negative ions right out of the air, I am loving putting on my sandals and tank tops. In the contrary way of nature, negative ions are supposed to make us feel good. Allegedly, our normal sky full of salty, negative-ion-filled ocean air keeps us cheerful. Positive ions, which Santa Ana winds are apparently full of, can make you suddenly understand road rage.            
Living in sunny Southern California, we are bound to be happy more than the national norm. I suspect the Santa Ana conditions might be the universe’s antidote to all our outrageous good health, outdoor activity and absence of snow tires.
And for those of you sweating and miserable (which is almost everyone but me), these winds finally give you a perfectly good excuse to feel angst. You can revel in a fit of extreme Weltschmertz and finally, an excuse to use that word. You can get out of things you don’t want to do by pleading severe ennui due to unfriendly ions. You can take to your bed with a headache and have both legend and science to back it up.
Besides, there are those of us who look forward to a real excuse for a bad mood. We relish a valid excuse to snap at everyone for no good reason. It vents our spleens.
All that can be offered, while the winds blow through, is caution with any flame, heavy-duty lip balm and the knowledge that it usually cools down in a few days. That gives you just enough time to prepare your apologies.

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