Autumn is trying to arrive in Los Angeles, but summer has a tenacious grip here, and isn't going to let go without a fight.
This weekend was one of the many battles between the two seasons we'll have until summer throws in the towel, which typically happens in mid-November: autumn brought us a cold and gloomy Friday, perfect for bundling up in a sweater and sipping hot cider, but warm summer winds blew it away over night and by Saturday morning, we were back in shorts, drinking iced tea on the patio.
Anne and I wanted to spend Saturday outside, but we'd committed to spending a significant portion of the day processing and packing book orders, so we don't fall behind. It's important to me that the time between when people order and when they get their book is as short as possible, even if it means sacrificing a few hours on a beautiful weekend. It was really nice to sit in the living room, all the doors and windows open with a warm breeze blowing in, listening to the sound of the first fallen leaves of autumn swirl around on the patio. We processed and packed enough orders to fill one of those USPS tubs I'm not allowed to use in the construction of a fort, probably close to 200, I think. (The volume of orders and interest in The Happiest Days of Our Lives has been overwhelming and unexpected. I'm actually starting to think that the limited edition hardback may actually sell out, which would be pretty cool).
Saturday night, I went to The Comic Bug for the final Los Angeles signing of the Star Trek Manga (My one Orange County stop is on Wednesday in Huntington Beach). I've spent a lot of time in the South Bay in autumn, so I was prepared for a cool, possibly foggy evening, but summer has a special connection to the beach, and will not quietly follow the sun over the horizon and into the Pacific. It was clear and warm, and I felt silly when I showed up dressed for Seattle. However, it was the best tour stop we had: at least forty people showed up, and though we signed a lot of books, it was more like a party that was occasionally interrupted by signing. (Incidentally, if you're interested in a copy of our book, signed by four writers and one artist, Comic Bug has a few of them, and they'll ship it to you if you order from them. Tell them I sent you if you do).
It was a wonderful evening, and a great way to end the Los Angeles portion of the promotional tour.
Summer may have owned Saturday, but autumn wasn't going to give up Sunday without a fight. It was my absolute favorite kind of weather: warm and even hot in the sun, but cool and brisk in the shade, with a hint of chill in the air everywhere. Anne and I slept late, cooked breakfast together (one of the simple pleasures in life that I love so much is cooking with my wife, especially breakfast on the weekends) and then took a massively long walk around our neighborhood, to get the most out of the beautiful day.
While we walked down a street a few blocks away that's lined with fifty year-old trees that are just starting to give up their leaves, past an old mission-style house that had awesome Halloween decorations on its porch and in its upstairs windows.
I waved to one of my neighbors, who was scattering rye grass seed on his lawn.
"That's optimistically early, " I said to Anne as we passed him, "there's no way it's going to stay cool enough for rye grass for at least another month."
"What are you, the rye grass police?"
"I'm just sayin', is all," I said, "so don't ask me to put it down on our lawn until at least -- hey! Our anniversary is in exactly one month!"
"I love that," she said.
"That reminds me of something I was thinking about earlier this week," I said. "You know, autumn is my favorite time of year, but not just because of the weather. I love the weather, of course, but when I look into my memory, it seems like my good childhood memories are always in summer, while nearly all of my good teenage and adult memories are in autumn."
I could feel a wealth of future stories sitting on the other side of an unlocked door just begging to be opened: Halloweens spent building haunted houses with Darin, driving myself and some friends down to Glendale when I was sixteen so we could watch horror movies, gaming and Star Trek and comic conventions . . . I resisted the urge to kick the door down and greedily harvest them. I was enjoying the day with my awesome wife, after all, so I just picked one of my favorites to share with her.
"For example," I said, "I got married in autumn."
"Stop it." She said.
"I'm just sayin', is all," I said.
"Okay," she said, and took my hand in hers for the rest of our walk.
I love that, I thought.
We met our friends for dinner last night, and when we left our house, the sun was setting, the smoke of barbecues was replaced by the smoke of fireplaces, and autumn had won the day.
Summer is back today, though, so I think I'll go take a walk by myself, and maybe open some doors along the way.