handy guide to san francisco for star trek fic writers
– san francisco is not like the rest of california. see geography note** at the bottom for some info on why it’s so much colder and wetter.
– there is NO SUCH THING as a warm san francisco night. while the temperature doesn’t technically get THAT low - 40s or 50s Fahrenheit at night - the fog and ocean air make it chilly and damp. the kind of chill that settles in your bones and makes you shiver, shiver, shiver. it’s like that all year round, ESPECIALLY in the northwestern part of the city by the golden gate bridge and the park.
– the average temperature range during the day is 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. days might begin with some mist or fog, but once the sun’s risen to a respectable height it burns off. the sky is almost always blue for the rest of the morning and afternoon; it can get up to the 70s before the wind kicks up sometime around 3pm and the fog rolls back in. you dress in layers so you don’t boil during the warm hours of midday or freeze during the chill of evening and early morning.
– BUT there are sometimes long stretches of days where the fog squats over the city and the sky is an awful flat grey-white. it weighs on you. it is blank and chill and maybe gives you a headache in its utter, boring blankness. these are the days you look down and tuck your nose into your scarf as you hurry to your destination. you bolster your spirits with hot beverages, stiff drinks, books, studying, and other pleasant indoor activities.
– speaking of blankness, being in a thick fog bank is wild. being on the golden gate bridge in a thick fog bank is INDESCRIBABLY WEIRD. you can’t see anything more than a few feet away. ahead of you, the bridge disappears into nothing. behind you, nothing. the cables above you stretch away into pure nothing and, while you can hear the crash and roar of the pacific against its base, you look over the edge and see, at best, the barest hint of motion beneath the grey nothing. it’s totally trippy.
– when the fog rolls in, it’s breathtakingly dramatic. the very air seems to be alive with movement; you can stand and watch the dynamism of the almost-invisible motions of the billowing air ahead of the thick white fog as it catches the light. sometimes it’s huge and blots everything out; sometimes it’s a low flat blanket creeping down the hills.
– san francisco has its own seasons. in what I call summerwintertime, from approximately June through August, it is COLD AND FOGGY AND GREY. I always felt badly for the summer tourists shivering in their shorts and sandals. I often wore my heaviest winter coat during the summer months. Messed Up.
– in September and October you get what I call autumnsummertime: a late summer of clear skies and relatively hot temperatures. for SF - and it’s always SF or The City, never San Fran, and never Frisco unless you were born there - “relatively hot temperatures” means in the high 70s and 80s. SF is not built for these temperatures. it is not pleasant. everyone is outside at the beach or in the parks every chance they get. probably they’ll have figured out indoor temperature control by the 23rd century, or the city will have been half demolished by the next big quake, so it’ll all be new and fancy instead of victorian and edwardian oh now I’m sad
– winter and spring are supposed to be the rainy season - and BOY does it rain, in big sheets, for days at a time. everything is wet. when there’s a drought, these seasons are green and pleasant during the day and cold and cloudless at night. regardless of drought status, SF is always startlingly green in winter; some trees do lose their leaves, but many don’t. in autumn, the ginkgo trees turn bright gold and their fan-shaped leaves stain the sidewalks russet brown. I love them.
– eucalyptus trees are enormous and smell really, really good combined with the ocean air, fresh and clean. it heals your heart and probably clears up your skin. they line the roads and paths of golden gate park, the panhandle, and many other parks and streets. their seed pods are so cute! there is a perfect star! google them, they’ll make you smile.
– the sound of the fog horn at night is eerie and, if you want to get sentimental, either a lonely or comforting sound depending on your emotional state of being. it makes you feel as though are living on an enormous ship moving very, very slowly through a misty sea. on the other hand, the emergency system’s automatic citywide test broadcast that goes off every wednesday at noon makes you feel like you’re entering a post-apocalyptic nightmare. “(haunting banshee siren wails across the city) THIS IS A TEST of THE EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM” yeah thanks for that i needed to leap right the fuck out of my body for a second. due to the ever-present threat of earthquakes, there will definitely still be a need for some kind of emergency broadcast system in the 23rd century. maybe in the future they’ll have invented some kind of regular test that doesn’t cause you to astral project, but who knows.
– birds are weird. there are gangs of identical green parrots flying all around the city; see the documentary The Birds of Telegraph Hill for more info. also in May there are very, very, very territorial birds that will dive-bomb you if you walk underneath their nests. it is horrible. they usually don’t do much damage but they smack into your head from behind, beating their wings, and scare the bajeesus out of you.
** GEOGRAPHY NOTE: san francisco is often as much as 10 degrees cooler than the east bay (oakland, berkeley, etc) or marin county to the north due to the fact that the mainland heats up, that hot air rises, and cold air off the ocean is drawn in. the ocean air and fog pass right over SF, keeping it cool and damp most of the time but especially in summer when the mainland is at its hottest. ergo, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in san francisco.”
THANKS for coming to my ted talk. you’re more than welcome to hit me up in the ask box if you have questions or want further anecdotes about this fine, weird city that starfleet has chosen as its headquarters!
31:1 last day of jan ‘17 and i’ve finally decided to post again😭i apologise for the long absence, just busy getting my arse kicked by school. i’ll be answering your asks this week, just bare with me. how is everyone?! here’s last weeks spread!