I FIGURED IT OUT! I figured out why I feel so out of place here in Southern California. Why the people look at me like I'm a fool. Why I don't understand, and why they don't understand me. IT'S THE WEATHER!
I've been uncomfortable and out of sorts (alright, grouchy) for the last week or so, and it's because I realized that Easter and Spring were on their way, and I would have no way of knowing. Spring usually marks a change in the outer and inner world. Hope is manifested in the light, the buds, the gradual softening of the bitter air. This is after a winter of burrowing, refining, and reflection. Appreciating the earth in her barren state. Feeling the cold winds purify me. In the case of New York, I would say bitter, horrifyingly-freezing-your-butt-off-misery cold winds. But then suddenly one day you step outside and realize you didn't need to put on long underwear. And there's a shift in you. You realize the Sun will come back after all.
See, I was in the back office, and a co-worker said, "It's so cold outside today." Well, it's 64 degrees. Another co-worker said, "Yes, but it's almost summer! I can hardly wait!" Then they both divulged that they neither of them have lived in a climate that has Winter, and they can't even imagine it. The thought repulses them. One of them said, "I wouldn't want to drive in snow. I hate driving in rain. I hate putting on a coat." They've never even experienced it! And it all came to me. These people do not want to suffer or put themselves out in any way. They are Comfortable. And they really don't appreciate foreigners like me coming in and then speaking of the glories of being frozen. I make no sense to them. Maybe I make no sense to myself. But I think I understand better now. The environment shapes the people.
And what is this environment? Sunny. Warm. Polluted.