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There is no small pleasure in sweet water. — Ovid, Epistoloe Ex Ponto (II, 7, 73)

Ah, Los Angeles. The ocean. The beach. The sunshine.

The heat, ramped up into the nineties and heading for the triple digits.

As I lug gallon bottles of mountain spring water home from the market, I think of one of the nicest things I left behind in Esseff—Hetch Hetchy water. Pure, clean, and most of all, delicious. I could go for a cold one right about now. The Los Angeles DWP also turns out a good product, but for taste, Ellay runs a distant second to Esseff in the water department (tee). My current tap water tastes like a rock collection.

Water is much on my mind since it’s hotter than the 4th of July (hee) and all of California is scorching in one of its periodic droughts. The self-appointed political correctness barkers are posting and writing letters to the editor about what “we” ought to do (shorter showers, don’t water the lawn, in fact, tear up the lawn and install cactus and gravel). They’re only saying what everyone else already knows, so they get pretty insufferable.

Living in, like, the Val-leeee, dude, I knew I’d be dealing with the heat sooner or later. July, August, September, into October, you’re gonna fry. Head for the beach! It’s 10 degrees cooler than inland Ellay, and 20 degrees cooler than the San Fernando Valley. Better yet, head back to Esseff and wear a sweater to the beach.

It’s not terribly insightful to point out the extremes of the unicoastal climate. Hotter in the south, cooler up north. The San Francisco fog is dramatic and brooding, and the cold provides the reason for the moody snap-brims and trench coats of film noir. That damp cold creeps into your pores and settles into the marrow of your bones. Los Angeles, on the other hand, glitters in the sunlight. The wardrobe is light and colorful, the sky is bluer, the trees greener (someone must be watering). But the heat drags on you like a ball and chain. And it’s lethal if you’re stupid. Every year public service announcements warn people to stay hydrated, use sunblock, and avoid exercising in the middle of the day. A walk in the pretty sunshine sounds awfully scary.

I’m ready, with my plastic jugs of mountain water. Thank goodness my building has an air-conditioned exercise room.