James and I celebrated our 11th anniversary last week by going to a fancy (for us) restaurant. You know the place–the tiny meal comes stacked on top of itself so the flavors can all meld together and shit. The service is attentive without being overbearing. Subdued yet tasteful decor. Expensive bill.
We typically like more down and dirty digs when we go out–not just because of our budget, but also because we ain’t fancy. But once or twice a year we wash our faces and put on nice pants and go have ourselves a time.
The waitress chatted us up. Asked if we’d been there before. No, this is our first time. She said the place was kind of off the beaten path. Actually, we live right around the corner. She said she used to live in Pacific Grove, too, but couldn’t deal with the fog, so she moved to Monterey. Then she said the two words that we’ve heard over and over since we got here: JUNE GLOOM.
“The weather’s been really nice lately, but June Gloom is on the way.”
“PG is a great place to live. Except, of course, for June Gloom.”
“Welcome to Pacific Grave, home of monarch butterflies and June Gloom.”
What the actual fuck is June Gloom? Do sea monsters crawl out of the nighttime ocean and go around nabbing all the old people? Is everyone in PG on the same cycle, suffering from group depression during the sixth month of the year? Does June Gloom have anything to do with why we suddenly have an infestation of crows (or maybe ravens?) in our yard? Not counting the one that mysteriously died Saturday, the last day of May? Was it a sacrifice to the coming darkness that is June on the central coast?
When we got up on June 1 and looked toward the bay, the ocean and sky were an indistinguishable shade of light gray. Like we live up the street from where the sidewalk ends. The air was moist, and it looked like a delicate rain was falling. A rain that evaporated right before reaching your upturned face. The temperature was around 50 degrees. And it stayed gray for most of the day, though the sky did clear for a couple of hours in the afternoon to reveal a clear blue ceiling above us. I guess this is June Gloom?
Lookie here. I grew up in a swamp full of bloodsucking mosquitos, biting fire ants and flying cockroaches, none of which were impacted by weeks worth of 100 degree afternoons that cooled to a moist 85 degrees overnight. I come from a place where even the air sweats. Where it’s not unusual to get so much rain in a random summer afternoon that you have to park your car on higher ground and just walk the rest of the way home. I’m not worried about a month or two of gloomy days that barely reach 60 degrees.
Just on the other side of that point in the photo above, around the red-roofed buildings, is Monterey. It doesn’t suffer from June Gloom the way Pacific Grove does. And, granted, you can actually see the change in the clouds. If you dropped a plumb bob from the sky, that line between gray and light blue would mark the division between PG and Monterey. Interesting, but hardly worth getting that worked up about.
My plan for getting through the horror of June Gloom? Walking five blocks to reach the sunshine when I’m feeling emotionally peckish. And resisting the urge to laugh in the face of the next local who bitches about our summer weather. (Plan subject to change if the infestation of crows is a mere prelude to something much more sinister and deserving of the title “gloom.”) (Which might be kind of exciting, actually.) (This is Amity Island after all.)