Archive for June 24th, 2008

I’m off

Posted on June 24, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Musings, Travel |

“I’m off” in a couple of senses of the phrase.  I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts, lately—not ill, or anything like that, but just sort of…physically and emotionally uncomfortable. I have all my little tricks of the trade I can indulge in when this happens, but I think a contributing factor may be 105+ degree temperatures that have been going on for weeks, now.  I may be deluding myself, but I don’t remember this from other summers.  Sure, it gets well over 100 in June and July and August, here, but I seem to recall that it did not do that for days on end in past years; we’d get some days here and there where it would dip below 95.  Is that just selective memory?

In some ways I like it here in the summer.  The huge flock of “Snowbirds”—people who escape from the harsh winters of the Midwest—starts to fly north at the end of May, and by the middle of June they are gone.  This makes for much less traffic on the roads, and the shopkeepers and restaurant owners are thrilled to see us.  “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the desert”, WE say.  (Of course we say that muttering under our breath, behind closed doors, because actually winter visitors contribute MASSIVELY to our economy, so we don’t want to tick them off, but, subtly let them know they’re really second-class citizens). 😉 Keep in mind that the weather can get below freezing in the winter; it actually can be quite cool at times, and it snows in our mountains down here.  Even, occasionally, a little bit of snow will reach the desert floor.  But you wouldn’t believe it if you were here, now.

So, the other way I’m off is I’m off to the White Mountains of Arizona for a few days.  I have friends who have a summer cabin up there, and they usually invite me—isn’t that nice?  The White Mountains are a beautiful part of our state, and about as different from the desert as can be.  Whereas here I can go years without seeing an evergreen; in the mountains there are Pine, Aspen, and Oak.  It’s truly an Alpine environment, and it snows, sometimes quite heavily, in the winter.  There’s skiing in the winter, and golf in the summer—four actual seasons.  I don’t ski anymore, and I’ve haven’t ever golfed, but I still like to go; it’s a refreshing change.

Average daytime temperature this past week in Tucson, Arizona:  106F, 41C.   In the White Mountains, Arizona:  83F, 28C.  And, it actually cools off at night.  So, you can see why I shall enjoy my brief respite.

I’ll be back and replying and commenting again on Friday.  In the meantime, I’ll offer you some desert gems, which regularly circulate around these parts in emails.  While you may not understand all of them, they are (really!) literally true, and allow us to chuckle at and wonder about ourselves.  See you Friday!

You Know You Are From Southern Arizona when:

  • You buy salsa by the gallon.
  • Your Christmas decorations include a half a yard of sand and l00 paper bags.
  • You think a red light is merely a suggestion.
  • All of your out-of-state friends start to visit after October but clear out come the end of April.
  • You think someone driving wearing oven mitts is clever.
  • You think 60 tons of crushed rock makes a beautiful yard.
  • You’ve signed so many petitions to recall governors that you can’t remember the name of the incumbent.
  • You notice your car overheating before you drive it.
  • Your house is made of stucco and has a red clay tile roof.
  • You can say “Hohokam” and people don’t think you’re laughing funny.
  • You no longer associate bridges (or rivers) with water.
  • You know a swamp cooler is not a happy hour drink
  • You can hear that the forecast is 115 degrees without fainting.
  • You can be in the snow, then drive for an hour and it will be over 100 degrees.
  • Vehicles with open windows have the right-of-way in the summer.
  • People break out coats when temperature drops below 75 degrees.
  • You discover, in July, it only takes two fingers to drive your car.
  • The pool can be warmer than you are.
  • You can make sun tea instantly.
  • You run your air conditioner in the middle of winter so you can use your fireplace.
  • People who have dark cars or dark upholstery in their car are automatically assumed to be from out-of-state or nuts.
  • The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
  • The AC is on your list of best friends.
  • You realize that Valley Fever isn’t a disco dance.
  • You can finish a Big Gulp in 10 minutes and go back for seconds.
  • The water from the cold water tap is the same temperature as the hot one.
  • You can (correctly) pronounce the words: “Saguaro”, “Ocotillo”, “Tempe”, “Gila Bend”, “San Xavier”, “Canyon de Chelly”, “Mogollon Rim”, “Cholla”, and “Ajo”.
  • You experience third degree burns if you touch any metal part of your car.
  • You know better than to get into a car with leather seats if you’re wearing shorts.
  • Announcements for Fourth of July events never end with “in case of rain……”
  • Everyone’s smiling and talking about the great weather on rainy days.
  • You have to explain to out-of-staters why there is no daylight savings time.
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