I was 12 years old when I first experienced snow. My parents and I flew to Chicago for Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my uncle and cousins, and prior to the flight to O’Hare, my dad told me to pack warm clothes — I’d need to bundle up in the Midwest.
Both of my parents grew up in Jersey, so they weren’t confident an LA-born girl like me could last even a few days in weather under 50 degrees — let alone freezing temperatures. I assured them I was excited to see a real winter for once. I’d grown up watching movies with snowfall and felt a little cheated that I couldn’t have a “real” Christmas like Illinois native Kevin McCallister.
During our trip, we drove to Wisconsin, which was even snowier and colder than Chicago. After browsing a cheese shop, I made a snowball, which I carried with me to the other stores we visited. One venue worker asked me to leave the snowball outside because it was dirty and wet. I told her I didn’t want to do that, as someone would surely “steal” the snowball I’d worked so hard to create.
“Laura, this is Wisconsin,” my cousin Kay said. “No one here is going to take your snowball. They get brutal snowstorms all the time.”
I didn’t believe her. All these years later, my family still jokes about the snowball incident. My Midwestern and East Coast relatives all laughed at me for having such a weird attachment to the snow — not to mention being so ignorant about the reality of living in crappy weather.
Walking through snow at 4:50 a.m. in DC is no picnic, and I did this for several months in 2011. It wasn’t until I put up with two more terrible winters on the East Coast that I realized I couldn’t survive the cold and still remain myself. Forget what I believed at age 12. Snowy winters are soul-crushing, uninspiring, and limiting, and sure you want some chilly weather to make the holidays more special, but I can say with confidence that it’s extremely overrated. I’ll take boring, predictable 75-degree days all year over four months in a disgusting wet coat that’s inevitably going to start smelling bad and scare people away from me. Who looks at a girl in a puffy jacket and thinks, “Wow, what a radiant beauty with great energy”? NO ONE. Because warm clothes don’t lend themselves to freedom or easy engagement.
With each passing day, I love the lack of seasons in LA even more. You can disagree if you’d like, but three years on the East Coast made me a total sun dweller. I don’t ever want to be anything else.