1. (Hollering): “DON’T FORGET YOUR JACKET!” (when the outside temperature cools off to 78 degrees).
Whether we live in the Sonoran Desert, a northern high-altitude forest, or one of the six or so ecosystems in between, Arizonans wear a jacket when it’s cold. “Cold” means 78 degrees and lower. Conversely, we wear shorts when it’s 20 degrees or warmer. Flip-flops are acceptable year-round footwear.
2. “No, Kokopelli is for fertility. The spiral is for healing.”
Because hippy-dippy woo-woo Sedonans do not want their kids conjuring the wrong petroglyph symbol. It just isn’t done. Now they’re going to have to smudge the yurt.
3. “No, you may not bring the baby javelina inside. No, I don’t care how cute she is. And no, you cannot bring the rattlesnake inside either. He’s happy right out there, I promise. Is there a red hourglass on that spider’s belly? Then yes, it’s a black widow. Don’t play with it.”
Arizona is the land of creatures that are indeed absolutely out to get you. These include aggressive wild peccaries that people think are pigs, but they’re not. Rather, they’re desert devils that look like weird little hogs when they’re babies. They’re adorable. And fast. And tusked. Rattlesnakes are merely an environmental hazard. It’s technically illegal to kill them without a license because some are endangered, but you can shoot varmint with a handgun within city limits. No one will tell an Arizonan where they can shoot.
4. “Put the gun in the glove box; we’re going into the bank.”
Except for the feds. The feds can tell Arizonans where they can’t shoot. The list is short.
5. “Grandma is visiting, so yes, we are going to the Grand Canyon for spring break. Yes, again.”
Another trip to that same old hole in the ground.
6. “How much hot sauce do you want on your burrito?”
Which is hotter? An Arizona summer? Arizonan Mexican food? Or the party students at U of A?
7. “Mija, no puedes salir esta tarde. Hay un chubasco y no quiero que te atrape en una inundación repentina.”
About 30 percent of Arizonans speak Spanish or a Native American language at home and their neighborhoods tend to be the ones that flood.
8. “Don’t get caught in the giant haboob!”
They’re dust storms that take kids to Oz or somewhere, not unlike a Sedona vortex.
9. “Get in the car. We’re going to Mexico to get your teeth cleaned.”
Because Arizona is the 10th poorest state, and basic dental services cost $20 just across the border.
10. “Get in the car — let’s bake cookies!”
It takes about three hours on an average Phoenix summer day. Hey, it’s something to do while school’s out and the temperature is nine million degrees.
Alternately, “Go take a hot shower. It’ll cool you off”, or “Go play in the sprinkler on the rock lawn.”
11. “Go get the magnifying class and a comb.”
Because every mother knows that’s the only way to pull cactus needles from a kid’s butt.
12. “Chupacabra’s gonna get you!”
Ok, yeah right, Mom. They’re almost extinct. Like jackalopes.
13. “There’s a monsoon! Go outside and play. And don’t fall in the canal.”
Arizonans and their World War II prisoners of war built 180 miles of canals on top of a prehistoric Hohokam water irrigation system. Phoenicians used to get together and swim and fish (gross!) in the canals’ dirty waters until the 1950s, when the Salt River Project streamlined them, making their concrete sides super steep. Now, when the seasonal torrential rains come, the current runs so fast that if they fall in, no animal or child can get out. Many people die every year in the canals.