I woke up today, to this text from a friend who lives in Illinois: I see snowflakes!
Yep: SNOWFLAKES. The high today in Mesa, Arizona, is supposed to be 90 degrees. I can’t decided if I’m more depressed for her or us.
That said, even though we aren’t experiencing the changing color of leaves or the first frost here in AZ, there are ways to tell winter is coming. They may not be quite as ominous as the ones on Game of Thrones, but if you’re paying attention, you can tell we, too, are entering the cold(ish) dark(ish) time of year.
Signs of impending winter if you live in Arizona:
1. The swimsuits at Target all go on clearance. – Sure, there are only mismatched bikinis left, but for $4 a piece, it’s hard to go wrong. And hey, the neighborhood pool is heated from November to February, so you don’t even have to wait to try them out.
2. The scent of dairy farm wafts in from Gilbert first thing in the morning. – Cow shit apparently dries out and becomes less pungent in the dry heat of the summer. In the winter your nose tells you you’ve entered the city of Gilbert even before you see the sign.
3. You don’t have to get up in the 3s to go hiking. – It’s a glorious thing when you can sleep until 6AM before setting off on a long hike and not worry about dying of dehydration. If you’re not sleeping, 3AM should really be reserved for the tail end of drinking binges.
4. Traffic begins to clog with slow drivers that have Canadian plates. – The snowbirds have arrived, and they’re making it hard to get to work without rage-ramming incidents.
5. You realize you haven’t dusted your ceiling fans in 6 months. – I’m calling bullshit on the proverb about how ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’. If that’s true, then why when I turn off my ceiling fan for the first time since March, do clouds of dust rain down on my bed (and don’t say “Because you’re a terrible housekeeper.”)?
6. Corn gets pricey. – Once you’re back to paying $2 an ear, you know it’s been flown in from Hawaii and winter is on it’s way.
7. Boot season begins. – In Arizona, boot season officially begins the day we have a high lower than 85 degrees. Once we’ve crossed this threshold, boots are appropriate until March or April, when the highs are back up above 97*. We may not need jackets, but don’t you dare try to take our boots away, goddamnit. We have just as much of a right to work a sexy, tall boot as you Minnesota ladies.
8. Water comes out of the tap cool. – I had a client, who was originally from Canada, tell me when she and her husband first moved to Arizona and bought a new-build home, the hot and cold were reversed in their master shower and it took them until fall to figure it out. They just thought their water heater wasn’t set high enough.
9. Scorpion sightings plummet. – The vicious little monsters hibernate as soon as the temperatures drop, so there comes a beautiful time of year where you can actually put on your shoes before shining a black-light into them.
10. Socks, scarves and soup start to be a thing. – Because who wants to eat a bowl of potato soup, with cloth covering their neck and socks on, when it’s 118 degrees? Only the clinically insane.
11. The Midwest and East coast transplants stop bitching and start patting themselves on the back. – What’s that you say? It’s so hot? You’re dying? Your flesh is burning off? This is a miserable forsaken hellhole of a state no one would choose to live in? Mmmhmm, sure. Oh, what’s that, now? It’s gorgeous and you’re eating dinner outside and hiking and Arizona is an amazing, wonderful place? I know, sweetie. How about you fuck off until you toughen up, mkay? If you can’t learn to love the pain of an Arizona summer, you don’t deserve the pleasure of an Arizona winter.
See? We have seasons. Just not snowflakes… in October. And I think I’m OK with that.
*Cowboy boots can (and will) be worn year-round and with almost anything.