The start of a new school year ushers in every wannabe east coast city-dweller’s favorite season. Fall is in the air, and that means PSLs (Pumpkin Spice Lattes), heavy jackets in crimson and hunter green, and cozy hay rides. But don’t let the sudden flood of pumpkins balanced on beanie-bound heads in your Instagram feed fool you. They may be bundled in a jewel-toned sweater, but behind the guise of social media, they are melting. Really, they can’t wait to swap their wool tights for ripped fishnets come Halloweekend.
Over the course of my lifetime in sweltering San Diego, I, like these Instagrammers, have mastered the art of faking fall. Here’s how you can too:
- The Starbucks
PSL is the most anticipated beverage of the year. The PSF (Pumpkin Spice Frapp) is the second-most. This is the one you’ll have to settle for if you don’t want to overheat. Another, more energy-consuming option is to go ahead and indulge in the richness of the hot latte while sitting in your car with the AC blasting. I like to keep fuzzy blankets in my trunk, in case the cold is too much to handle.
- Good news: you can still wear your thrifted denim jackets. Stifling heat awaits you outside, but upon entering any classroom (excluding those in the A, B, C, D, E, F, G, J, and K buildings), you can always depend on a welcoming gust of fresh air conditioning. Dress in layers to maximize frostbite prevention and keep spare mittens and earmuffs in your locker for the especially frigid teachers’ meat lockers.
- To mimic the Ivy League autumnal experience, you will need an array of colorful leaves to crunch under your Uggs/combat boots/Rainbows, jump into a pile of, and hold up to your eye to take selfies with. Because trees are sparse here, your own front yard’s accumulation will not suffice. Your neighbors will be as resistant as you are to give up any leaves that may have browned and dropped on their xeriscaped lawns. Therefore, while dodging the spotlight of the full harvest moon, you must duke it out with the racoons and rats to forage for your neighbors’ leaves. Don’t worry about your neighbors catching you- they will be doing the same in your yard.
- Drive north, bring home a slice of that good ol’ Julian Apple Pie and a jug of spiced apple cider, and distribute the goods to friends and family. Never tell them you went to Julian. Tell them it’s your grandma’s secret recipe. Everyone is sensitive towards matters concerning another’s grandma, and they’ll drop the subject.
As a last resort, (if you’re anything like me and just can’t take the heat any longer), catch the soonest available one-way flight, pack a volume of Robert Frost’s greatest hits, and pray you don’t end up south from where you started.