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Don’t You Dare Say ‘But It’s a Dry Heat’
No seriously, I might snap.
It’s been a little toasty here in my corner of the Sonoran Desert this week. The calendar says it’s still springtime, the sun says: “I want you to die now.”
Once the temperature hits 110, it’s just hot, whether there is any humidity or not. It’ll also kill you a lot quicker. Every year, we get these “But it’s a dry heat” idiot visitors who decide they want to hike on a hot summer day and only bring about 20 ounces of water with them. Twenty minutes later, it’s Search-and-Rescue time.
I was out for an hour on the bike yesterday morning and drank two liters.
Tucson is higher desert. We don’t get all of the 110 and above days like Phoenix does. We get a few of them each summer, but usually in late June and July. I prefer it that way. Apparently, my preferences were not taken into consideration by Mother Nature this year, as we first hit 110 last weekend and have been in the 112-114 range for highs the last few days. I walked outside for just a few minutes on Tuesday afternoon and could actually hear my sperm dying.
The desert is an environment that is focused on being inhospitable. It just wants everything to leave. Anything that remains, it wants dead. As much as I love this place I still can’t for the life of me figure out what possessed people to put down roots here before air conditioning.
AC didn’t become commonplace here until the middle of the 20th century. I once asked my grandfather what they did here during the summertime before they had air conditioning. A man of notoriously few words, he replied, “Not much.”
I love this desert and I love the hot weather. I’ve recently begun pondering what that says about me. Why am I most comfortable in a climate that’s giving everyone the finger for several months of the year? Do I love the desert because I’ve got kind of a prickly, occasionally antisocial personality? Or am I this way because this desert spawned me?
It’s a real chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, except in this version the chicken collapses from heatstroke and the egg is immediately fried.
I spent almost 25 years in Los Angeles, where the weather is absolutely perfect for ten months of the year. I always felt a little out of sorts there.
It’s going to be 112 again tomorrow. I’m going to go for a bike ride when it’s still in the low hundreds and give simpatico nods of respect to every reptile I see along the way.
They’re my people.