Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Desert Is Not Dessert


Out of necessity I am in Arizona this week.

Most times mentioning Arizona as a destination brings up that “Oh–” that is a followed by congratulatory commentary with a dash of envy.

That “Oh–” takes on tones of surprise, commiseration, and even pity when Arizona is mentioned as a travel stop this time of year.

The last three days have been rising to triple digits. Today is expected to be 114 degrees. I should add an exclamation point. Make that two.

People who live in Arizona must be okay with this cruelty. Why would someone purposefully punish themselves unless by choice? There are sooo many other places to live.

These are the reasons I hear from residents as they try to excuse the heat:

“Air conditioning. You go from the car to the store. It’s not bad.” That’s what they said about my root canal. “The pain and discomfort is minimal.” Pain is pain and the shock of heat blasting off the asphalt parking lot even for the two minutes of the dash from car to store is still excruciating.

“It cools down at night.” Umm, 80 degrees at 1 am is not cool. It’s not even pleasant.

“Hang out at the pool.” Great idea in theory; however, the sun has been heating up that water until it becomes lukewarm. Not remotely refreshing is the time spent floating in tepid waters.

And the weather announcer pull-it-out-every-time excuse: “But it’s a dry heat.” Dry it is. Because heat is hot and hot is not comfortable.

I’m sure Arizona is lovely other parts of the year. Flocks of snowbirds descending and settling down in the desert for winter have proven this to be statement of fact. Unfortunately I care not for the desert. It is not my idea of a dessert vacation.

114? Really?!?

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18 thoughts on “Desert Is Not Dessert

  1. I’m with you! I don’t know people want to live where it’s so hot and dry and dead!

  2. I moved to Arizona–out of necessity, as you put it–over 10 years ago. The idea was to spend summers in southern Cali, but that never happened. For several years I was not satisfied to live here, in part because of the summers. So I started checking out other places to live. And you know what? I ended up really loving it here and preferring it to the other places I checked out. We have a very good life in Arizona. Tons to do, easier to get around than many other places, so beautiful from September to May, people aren’t as depressed in general–maybe because the sun, you know ;). And your body adapts to things. Now I can’t handle it too cold. I’m not saying I don’t complain about the summer heat, but part of it is because is kind of fun to scare people by saying, yup, another day of 120! That said, I have to wear compression stockings all day every day, so I do live in the AC as much as possible in the summer. And we get up early and get going so that we don’t have to do much in the afternoon in the heat.

  3. Choice between 87* and 100% humidity in Wisconsin or 100* and 20% humidity in Arizona…..Arizona wins hands down every time. I hate going outside and feel like someone has thrown a hot wet blanket around me. I prefer the dry heat.

  4. Look on the bright side. You’ll never get tuberculosis there.

  5. Whenever I have spent time in Arizona I miss the green. The political climate is also a little troubling. We’re looking for a retirement place with milder winters than Illinois, but I don’t think we can do Arizona.

    • I missed the green tremendously. Some find beauty in the desert, yet I felt like I had fallen in a vat sepia—all brown and tans.
      Somewhere warm and green, that would be ideal.

  6. Having grown up in Australia’s version of Arizona, I have to say I do prefer dry heat to tropical heat. You don’t sweat anywhere near as much, and even a 30 degree day (celsius) in a a tropical climate can take a lot out of you.

    Personally, I prefer dry heat to tropical heat.

    Cool post by the way.

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