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Rain-Stressed Southern Californians Passionate for Rays of Sunshine

January 26, 1995

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Southern Californians need an attitude adjustment.

Foul-weather blues have infected the psyche during nearly a month of rain, tans have faded and mud sullies the usually sun-toasted shores. There’s a longing for barbecues, barefoot strolls, bicycle rides, tank tops and bare midriffs, yard-sale treasure hunts and buffeting drives in convertibles.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, sunlight deprivation, cabin fever _ whatever the experts call it, most agree sunshine is the elixir this sun-crazy proletariat needs.

``They’re crabby because they aren’t getting full-spectrum light, which affects the brain. It makes us tense, it’s cabin fever,″ psychologist Joyce Brothers said Thursday.

``Human beings were not meant to stay together without a break for more than 72 hours. People need some down time.″

For nearly a month, rain has left West Coast outdoors-lovers cooped up. But the sun rose shining Thursday as remnants of the latest storm scooted east. The forecast calls for clear skies at least through the weekend.

Legendary surfer Lance Carson was stoked.

``Gee, I’m going to miss Oprah!″ he said, looking forward to his days in the sun. ``But seriously, the babes and the sunshine and the beach, there’s been nothing here. I’ve had it. It’s been miserable.

``Malibu used to be the world famous surfing beach where the stars hung out, and now you can’t even get there. There’s mud coming down everywhere.″

At the Sunglass Safari boutique in Malibu, the sunny respite offered some hope for dwindling sales.

``The last thing people have been thinking about is sunglasses,″ said Edgar Brekke, who runs the store. ``The storm effect on business has been absolutely devastating this month.″

Umbrellas were opening all over the region Thursday as restaurants prepared for what was in many cases the first alfresco serving since Jan. 3.

``It’s beautiful to see the sun this morning,″ said Robin Thomas of Geoffrey’s, an upscale, ocean-view watering hole in Malibu. ``The customers we have had ... stagger in after slogging through the mud and water and say they just had to get out of the house.″

For all the bummed-out masses, however, Brothers looks for the silver lining.

``Sunshine gives us burns, cancer and wrinkles that makes us old,″ she said. ``You can say, `Well, I’m not getting a tan,′ but it is more healthy.″

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