1. “I hate Mexican food!”
Mexican grub is the closest thing Arizona has to a state food. Not watered-down chain restaurant gringo Tex-Mex where the walls are lined with sequined sombreros, but hole-in-the-wall Sonoran grub lovingly handcrafted by a kind-looking abuelita in a kitchen the size of a postage stamp. We may be the original home of the chimichanga, but locals are more likely to chow down on menudo and nopal (cactus pad) tacos than touristy south-of-the-border restaurants with a side of cheese.
2. “University of Arizona and Arizona State are both great schools.”
Ha! Even if U of A and ASU were tied for their ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s list of top colleges, Arizonans would tout their own alma mater as superior. Their college football conflict goes so far back that the NCAA certified their Territorial Cup battle as the oldest rivalry challenge in American college history.
3. “The Arizona Cardinals are the best team in football.”
We may be sports fans, but we’re also realists. Arizonans know that despite some recent highs, our home team has one of the worst reputations in pro football history. There are websites dedicated to Cardinals jokes. We have some of the poorest attendance records of any NFL franchise. The Cardinals even garnered a nod as ESPN’s top loser. Should you spot an Arizonan wearing a Cardinals logo, he (or she) will probably claim they just love the Angry Birds game.
4. “The Grand Canyon is just a big hole in the ground.”
Next you’ll be saying that the pyramids are merely naval-gazing graves for old dead guys and the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 World Series win was no different than any other game. Named one of CNN’s Seven Natural Wonders of the World, The Grand Canyon is a whopping 277 miles long – about the width of the entire state of Utah. It’s also home to 70 species of mammals and five Native American tribes.
5. “Let me just grab my spurs.”
Despite rumors to the contrary, Arizona is no longer the Wild, Wild West. So unless you’re visiting Rawhide theme park or Old Tucson Studios – or dining at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill – leave the Stetsons and chaps at home.
6. “There’s no place to hike.”
The whole of the 48th state is filled with amazing hiking trails, from Monument Valley to Telegraph Pass and everywhere in-between. Arizona’s State Parks system boasts more than 775 unique trails spread over thousands of miles, and scenic outlooks are as commonplace here as bagel and pizza joints are in Manhattan. So keep your walking shoes handy.
7. “Don’t bother with sunscreen.”
If you think lobster red is Pantone’s next Color of the Year, go for it! But if you’d rather avoid looking like the angry crimson dude from Pixar’s Inside Out, slather on a tube of SPF2000 before you leave the house. Even if – gasp! – there are clouds in the sky, one hour under the blazing ball of fire we call the Arizona sun and you’ll be as cooked as a Christmas goose.
8. “How do you pronounce ‘saguaro’?”
An Arizonan wouldn’t be caught dead saying “Sag-ARROW” or ordering a “KWESS- a-dilla.” While it’s easy for outsiders to mispronounce words like Guadalupe or Ocotillo, Arizonans are taught Southwest diction from an early age – or the moment they transplant here. Ask where the best spots to hike the “MOG-o-LON” Rim are and you’ll instantly out yourself as a non-Arizonan.
9. “Let’s park over here in the sun.”
One day, every shopping plaza will get wise to the idea of installing covered parking. Until then, Arizonans will stalk a spot with two inches of shade like it’s a 12-point buck. Shade is the Holy Grail here. It doesn’t matter if your arms are loaded with packages and your legs are wobbly from a tough day at the gym. Locals will take a mile walk over cooking their steering wheel to medium-well.
10. “I’ve never seen a scorpion in real life.”
Scorpions are so plentiful in Arizona’s desert regions that we’re surprised they’re not the state animal (that’s the ringtail cat). In some areas of Phoenix, homeowners hunt nightly for these hard-shelled arachnids in their backyards – by blacklight. Curious where your area stands with scorpions? Check out this map of Phoenix-area infestations.