Feeling Foggy: Why Karl The Fog Is Actually The Worst

Feeling Foggy: Why Karl The Fog Is Actually The Worst

By Rachael Medina October 21, 2019

Commuting from the East Bay into San Francisco always comes with a bit more excitement than I anticipate. Traveling from one side of the Caldecott Tunnel to the other sees a fairly drastic temperature change, rendering my light sweater useless as a chill blows in over the bay and into Rockridge. Thankfully, I’m used to dressing for contingencies—whenever it’s warm outside, it’s freezing in my office—so I throw on a jean jacket, hoping it’s enough to calm my goosebumps. 

As the BART train continues through Oakland, I’m comforted knowing that my cropped pants and denim jacket weren’t a bad choice. But once I get off the train and climb the stairs of Montgomery station, I see it: Karl the Fog. While it should come as no surprise that San Francisco’s famous fog hovers over the bay, casting a gloomy shadow over the city, I can’t help but feel a bit shaken by its frigidity. Wishing I had a fleece sweater or some other gear specially suited for the outdoors, I quickly rush into Mazarine Coffee in an attempt to warm up until the fog (hopefully) burns off. After several years of commuting into the city for school, I shouldn’t be surprised by Karl anymore, yet here I stand, shivering from the unexpected change in temperature. 

Annoyed by my own lack of planning—and by this weather’s existence—I whip out my phone to find out exactly why this unfortunate phenomenon is called Karl the Fog anyway. As it turns out, a mysterious Twitter account, @KarltheFog, popped up in August 2010 as a sort of love note to the often-criticized weather condition that plagues San Francisco year-round. Finding inspiration from the 2003 film Big Fish, this unknown author adopted the name Karl from the movie’s giant that scared everyone but was actually a lonely, hungry, and friendly creature—not the human-eating, terrible ogre that people expected he would be.

While the fog can seem like an inconvenient monster, there is also some beauty that arises because of it. Head over to Sausalito or up into the skyscrapers of S.F. to get a glimpse of the fog-encased Golden Gate Bridge.

But for me, coming from the dry desert of Southern California, the S.F. fog was exactly the monster I’d expected. While I can get down with the consistent temperatures of the San Francisco Peninsula—which always seem to hover between 60 and 70, even when it’s burning hot or freezing cold in the East Bay—there is something about the damp fog that just brings me down. Unfortunately, because warm air rises and the city is surrounded by water on three sides, it doesn’t look like Karl is going anywhere anytime soon. 

I do suppose there is a sort of beauty in this S.F. fog, especially when the top of the Golden Gate Bridge pops out of it, stretching into the blue skies above. So as I walk to my next destination along the Embarcadero, I try to accept Karl the Fog for what it is—and make a mental note to always bring a thicker jacket to San Francisco. And though Karl and I might never become best friends, at least he will never come as a surprise again.

WRITTEN BY
Rachael Medina

WRITTEN BY Rachael Medina

Rachael Medina is the staff writer and content manager for California.com. She was born and raised just outside the Mojave Desert in Southern California and moved to the redwood forests of Humboldt C…

See full bio

0 comments


author photo
Please enter text

You may also like

Lifestyle

The California Experiences to Gift (Instead of Things)

Finding presents for everyone during the holiday season can be stressful, but gifting California experiences makes it so much easier....Read more

Lifestyle

Finding The Holiday Spirit: How to Get into The Holidays If You're Not Feeling It

The holidays are a magical time of year filled with love and gratitude. These are some of the best ways …...Read more

Lifestyle

I Got My Legs Sugared And Survived

After hearing so much about sugaring—a trendy, all-natural hair-removal method—I decided to get my legs sugared. Here's what went down....Read more

Lifestyle

Men's Style Spotlight: Shoe Brands That Embody The California Lifestyle

Whether you're nailing kickflips or hiking through forests, these top California shoe brands will spur your outdoor adventures....Read more