The last few weeks have finally felt like summer in the Bay Area – at least to me.

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve moved to California and not until our recent heat wave approached did I really feel that I was experiencing the season. And, now, just as it was getting good, it’s coming to a close.

In the last month, I’ve hung out with friends by the pool, went to a San Francisco Giants game (they were playing the Phillies – my original home team), swam in an alpine lake, visited family in the Gulf of Mexico and attended a wedding held under the Redwoods.

During those same few weeks, I had to set up an elaborate fan system to keep my cat, Cosmo, cool when high temperatures in the East Bay reached into the 100s. This was the first time I’ve felt hot in California.

My reaction to those two heatwaves surprised me. I’ve lived in eastern North Carolina where temperatures in the 90s combined with high humidity would have you either held up in the air conditioning or with your hair pulled back, in short-shorts and still dripping sweat.

This heat was different. At its peak, I felt breathless, dehydrated and lethargic. Cosmo and I stayed in despite not having any AC – me spread out on the bed, him uncharacteristically on the cool hardwood floor. I placed water glasses in every corner so that he would have a plethora of watering holes to choose from in our Sahara-like studio. I used the two ice packs that we had to keep the bed cool, occasionally touching my toes to its icy exterior.

Eventually I broke down and did what teenagers in New Jersey do when things get a little too hot – so hot that there isn’t anything you can do – I went to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee.

Not only did it feel like summer, but it felt like a high school summer. No longer was I a woman in my mid-to-late twenties; I was a teenager again, drinking cold sugar and snacking on potato chips.

If it hadn’t been so hot I would’ve gotten some pretty great sleep since Cosmo was too laid out to wake me up to play. Instead of him swatting me in the head, I woke up constantly in need of more water, needing to change the position of the fan or double-check that the window was actually open.

Already, with temperatures dropping and cloud cover seeming to take over, I miss it. I like my summers hot. I like needing to get a Slurpee or, when available, a Rita’s water ice (There’s one in Vacaville) to keep cool. I like having a reason to jump in the water, which is sometimes difficult to do in the chilly Pacific Ocean, get wet and play. Summer is fun time and the heat, even when you think its unbearable, is part of that.

At least it is for this girl.

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Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. Jersey Girl runs every other Sunday. Follow her on Twitter at @RiaSestito or email her at msestito@napanews.com.


Maria Sestito is the former Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She now writes for the Register as a freelancer.