Although talking about the weather is usually the conversational equivalent of watching paint dry, a sign of the most boring life possible, and should generally be banned as a topic of discussion, it’s that time of year again in Arizona. The time when one cannot avoid hearing “weather comments”.
Because as we approach the climate climax, or the period when our weather moves from hell to heaven, we’ve just gotta chat about it.
But the interesting thing is, the same people who just two months ago would have wrestled a coyote if doing so meant a heat drop of 20 degrees-say from 110 to 90-now watch the daily temps like hawks. And should those temps dare to rise above 85 degrees, even by one or two digits, you’ll hear more complaining than when the price of a gallon of gas rises to four dollars just because it’s a day with a ‘T’ in it.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. THE TEMPERATURE IN THE PHOENIX AREA DOES NOT STAY CONSISTENTLY LOW UNTIL AFTER THE THIRD WEEK OF OCTOBER. It just doesn’t. And merely because it’s October and that means cold where you came from and you see pumpkins and Halloween is coming and you want to break out your boots and sweaters simply won’t make it so. The sooner we can all accept this and move on with our lives the better. October comes in like a hot apple pie and goes out like…well…a pie that’s been sitting on the windowsill for a few minutes. (An air-conditioned windowsill, if it’s Arizona. Otherwise there’s no difference.)
And the worst offenders are the most recent transplants. It’s interesting that they who have not had to endure as many, or any, grueling summers in the desert are the first to protest. Perhaps it takes a certain number of melted flip flops, an inevitable breakdown or two of one’s A/C system on the hottest day of the year (and it won't be a day but probably at least a week before an overburdened HVAC tech can rescue you), and a particular amount of eyelid sweat for one to fully appreciate the slow but steady onset of autumn in the desert.
No, it’s not the east coast. And no, there's not a huge number of trees changing colors. And no, you may not smell frost. But isn’t that why you came? Because remember, as lovely as a chilly, crisp fall day can be in some parts of the country, in reality it's an omen of what’s coming next. Full-on freaking cold! Snow. Ice. Blizzards. Wind chill factors!
And we do have our own changes in seasons. They’re just a bit subtler. Our citrus trees ripen. Our grass stops growing so fast that it has to be cut every three days. Our desert landscaping changes color ever so slightly. Our pool water is now frigid. And listen. What’s that? Oh yes, it’s the sound of silence that blossoms when everyone’s A/C stops running 24/7.
Unlike our recent residents, the snowbirds who visit only occasionally are more accepting of our fall climate. They do appreciate that it’s actually a great time to be outdoors, even if a bit hotter than wherever they came from. They relish the al fresco dining and the fact that it’s still warm enough to sit by the pool, which is officially the number one pastime of Arizona tourists and vacationers. These people don’t mind wearing shorts in October. In fact, they oddly seem to love that even in January (the topic of another column). But herein lies the difference: Snowbirds know they’re only here temporarily and that they’re going back. And so, like someone in a new relationship, they say “I love you” to our weather every single day. Sometimes they even bring it flowers.
But as for the rest of you transplants who still can’t quite wrap your head around the fact that, like the smell of onions, summer takes its sweet time to completely leave the area, be patient. There will come a day, and that day will be here very soon, when the temps will reliably stay under eighty degrees. There may even come a shocking day when you will stun yourself by saying, “I’m cold!”
And yes, within a couple of months the day will also arrive when you get to do the one thing you want to do most. The thing that, if you look deep into your soul, is the real and true reason you moved here: you will be able to call your family and friends wherever you left them, probably in some snowdrift, and ask “How’s YOUR weather today?”.
And let’s practice our response all together now….”Awww, really? It’s PERFECT here!”
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