The funny disease.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Crazy AZ

I recently moved to Arizona from Illinois. I wasn’t really expecting much culture shock. This is still America, after all. And I have lived in two other deserts. But I have found, after 6 months of living here, that there are some vast differences in Arizona.

Confusing things about Arizona:

  • Lush front lawns
  • The multitude of “lake” communities
  • People who moved here to escape allergies and then planted trees and grass
  • Grocery stores that only have three kinds of salsa
  • Anytime is a good time for flip-flops
  • Wearing jeans when is over 80 degrees
  • Wearing jeans when is over 100 degrees
  • New York Burrito
  • Street names like “Ocean” and “Lakeside”
  • People who think it’s okay to have wooly husky dogs here

There’s a big change in the climate, as you might imagine.
But you really don’t know about eyeball-searing heat unless you spent a summer here where the high was over 105 degrees, pretty much from June to September. I think I’ve eaten my weight in fruit popsicles this summer.

The drivers in Illinois were impatient and reckless.
Arizona drivers are fancy free and reckless. We went from “Get outta my way you law-abiding freak!” to “La de da…is that another car on the road?” We've been in two almost accidents out here already, because someone decided they were the only ones on the road.

The atmosphere seems to be much more relaxed here.
I do believe the stereotypical California penchant for healthy living and stress management has wafted right over the border. People actually use the gym in the apartment complex where I live. It’s not just a senseless waste of space with a stationary bike and a Soloflex here.

These amazing people also seem to be in denial that it is, not only hotter than hell outside, but also that we live in the middle of the desert. I’ve never seen so many fountains, lakes and other various water features in my entire life. (It makes me think that the people here are expecting California to fall right into the ocean, and they're just anticipating the change in climate.) I do miss the green. I really do. But I think when someone moves to the desert and decides they can’t live without maple trees and peonies, why don’t they just move back?

Actually, I’m hopping some Arizona readers will take me up on that, because you can hardly swing a dead armadillo. I’ve never lived anyplace where there are so many Super Wal-Marts going up at once. Everything is so sprawled out. I live in the East Valley and my parents live in the West Valley, and it takes an hour to get back and forth. Unless you have a lead foot husband that has be gently reminded that he’s not on the Autobahn. And neither of us lives at the far edges of the Phoenix suburbs.

The delicate Sonoran ecosystem is being crushed under the heel of a lot of crazies, who seem to have conveniently forgotten that we live somewhere that's really hard to make habitable. It makes me wonder what we were thinking when we moved here. Now Google wants to move to the East Valley, too. It just makes me wonder, is the water going to run out before California slides off the continental shelf?

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