There are plenty of things I don’t like about being a desert dweller. Namely: rattlesnakes, scorpions, lizards, and spiders (especially the hairy beast of a tarantula I had to sweep off my front porch last week). While those creepy, crawly, slithery critters keep me constantly on my toes, there are other parts of life in Southern Arizona that leave me happy as can be. Believe it or not, I love the heat. No really, I do. I know that our Tucson temperatures are a little on the extreme side, but overall, the climbing mercury warms my heart. Both literally and figuratively. I’m sure that sounds delusional to someone from, oh, say Michigan. Truly, though, the soaring temperatures of the summer months sit well with me.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m also a big fan of the AC. I may be cold-blooded but I’m not crazy. While I do love our warm weather, I also love that I don’t have to actually, you know, be out in it all day. If my job required me to dig trenches, I might not be so quick to rave about the summer weather. Lucky for me, my job requires no such thing. I’m a freelance writer who hardly ever ventures away from the comfort of my permanently 78 degree home. Seventy-eight degrees is a comfortable temperature don’t you think? I only ask because, clearly, local retailers are not in agreement.
Have you ever walked into your favorite store or restaurant in late August only to be frozen out in a matter of minutes? It happens to me all the time. Admittedly, I’ve never actually tested the temperature, but I’d venture to guess that most local retailers set their thermostats at, oh I don’t know, somewhere in the neighborhood of negative twelve degrees. Every time I step foot into the grocery store goose bumps take residence on my extremities and remain there until I return to the “comfort” of the 114 degree afternoon. And local restaurants? Local restaurants are the worst. I imagine they keep things extra cool to combat the heat of the kitchen. But really, there is an important lesson to be learned here: room temperature is room temperature no matter how hot it is outside.
Seeing as how I’ve just completed my eighth summer here in the Old Pueblo I’ve really wised up and learned some preventative measures. I’ve taken to carrying a pair of thick, fuzzy socks around in my purse. I know it sounds silly (and would probably be a big mystery to anyone who had the opportunity to survey the contents of my handbag) but I have to do it to protect my toes from frostbite as I enjoy my chicken tacos for lunch. I also keep an old sweatshirt in the backseat of my minivan for similar emergencies. So should you happen to overhear a short brunette ordering a hot chocolate at happy hour—and wearing a winter parka—chances are it’s me. Do stop and say hello.