Growing up, there was nothing I loved more than the feel of warm sunshine on my face. I’d lounge by the pool all day in the summer, just soaking it up.
But now I live in Arizona.
Temperatures reach 110° or hotter here, regularly, all summer long. By late April, if we’re lucky, it’s only starting to get to the point where it’s too hot to do anything outside.
By mid-May, it’s sweltering. Every professional woman in Arizona dreads this time of year. You might think, “What’s the big deal? You go from your air-conditioned car to your air-conditioned office.” But you don’t know our pain until you have made the 2-minute walk from your car into your office, only to get stuck to the asphalt 3 times because your heels are melting into the ground.
Seriously, I have never been more thankful for Zoom meetings. Why did it take us this long to start using Zoom?
All of those fun things people do in the summer? Ha — not in Arizona!
Water balloon fights? Not unless you want to clean melted rubber from your grass. Swimming? Only after dark, when you can finally walk barefoot without burning your toe prints off. We do barbecue — but only because it keeps the heat outside.
The one thing Arizonans have to look forward to is monsoon season. That’s when it rains for 15 minutes and 20,000 people post about it on Facebook.
Historically, monsoon season starts around June 15th. But it’s July now and we haven’t had rain since God-knows-when.
And since it’s hot and dry, the only thing you can really count on during summer in Arizona is fires. Lots and lots of fires. Already, we’ve had more than a dozen wildfires that have each burned over 1,000 acres of land this year. That doesn’t even include the Ocotillo Fire, which burned just 980 acres but destroyed 12 homes, plus another 20 outbuildings like barns, stables, and detached garages.
A Horse Community Comes Together During Ocotillo Fire
On Saturday a large brush fire broke out in Cave Creek, Arizona. 500 people and 250 animals were evacuated.
Arizonans wanting to do something fun in the summer have exactly one option: leave. They go north (to the mountains), they go west (to the beach), or they go south (to Mexico). But this is 2020, so parks, lakes, and the US-Mexico border are all closed. Sorry.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, Arizonans still have another thing to worry about… Palo Verde beetles.
Let me explain.
Palo Verde beetles are demons that burrow up from hell to wreak havoc on Arizona every summer. These fuckers are HUGE beetle-like creatures that come out at night. And because Satan has a sense of humor, they also fly.
They are named after the Palo Verde tree, which hides beneath its roots the gateway to hell from which these beetles emerge every year.
And they say the Pope won’t fly over Kansas. Psht.
I feel it’s important to mention the Palo Verde is also Arizona’s state tree. Why a hellspawn-harboring tree would get the honor of that distinction, I have no idea.
My husband loves telling this story of when we were dating. I came home to my condo to see a 3-inch long Palo Verde beetle at my front door. It was right in the center of my welcome mat, and wouldn’t move no matter what I threw at it. So, I did the only logical thing I could think of: I got back in my car and left for the night.
At another house I lived in, the Palo Verde beetles loved to gather around a particular spot in the backyard. You’d turn on the floodlight and could see them all scatter — from a full story and 20 feet away.
They get in your pool. You find them dead on their backs on the sidewalk. And if you dare try to go for a walk at night, they leap in front of you, totally misjudging your speed, and smack straight into you. But that’s not even the worst part — sometimes they get caught in your hair and you have to pull them out.
So, I know, summer 2020 sucks for everyone. We’ve got a pandemic, people have lost their jobs, some of our cities are dealing with riots.
But hey, it could be worse.
You could be in Arizona.