Photo: Volodymyr Tverdokhlib/Shutterstock

14 Differences Between a Local and a Transplant in Arizona

by Angela Orlando Sep 4, 2017

THE STATE OF ARIZONA is lived in by a wildly diverse population. You’ve got the snowbirds, the new transplants, the locals, the real locals — Native Americans –, and the transplants who’ve stayed long enough to be damn near local. Here are ways to tell some of them apart.

1. A local orders a shot of Reposado tequila at a Tucson bar — or añejo, if they’re feeling flush. No lime, no chaser. A new transplant orders a frozen strawberry-peach margarita, half salt.

2. A new transplant thinks they can drive through the “puddle” that is actually a flash flood roaring down the street at the speed of class-four river rapids. Arizonans know that’s why we invented the Stupid Motorist Law, and that the naïve transplant is going to get a serious fine for their swift water rescue.

3. A new transplant opens their burrito, puts a few drops of salsa on top, and wraps it back up. A local just dumps a bottle of El Yucateco on their carne seca torta.

4. A newbie will run away screaming from the rattlesnake at their back doorstep. A local uses a pitchfork to move the creature to their frenemy neighbor’s yard.

5. A new transplant takes his parents to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and waits behind thousands of tourists to take the same photo. A local knows plenty of spots just outside the Park boundaries where it’s free and uncrowded to experience the magic of the Big Ditch.

6. A newbie doesn’t understand when the taco dude asks “corn or flour?” An Arizonan says “one of each.” Same with “red or green?” A local knows that the correct answer is “both.”

7. A new transplant will keep hiking up the mountain in a thunderstorm. A local knows to crouch in lightning position to make themselves smaller than what will unavoidably get struck — for however long it takes for the storm to pass.

8. A transplant (in fact, most folks) will rant and complain about the heat. Arizonans write songs and poetry about it.

9. A new transplant wears sunscreen. An Arizonan knows they should but suffers the consequences of forgetting at least twice a year — or down the road when they find themselves visiting with the friendly skin cancer doc.

10. A newbie waits for the steering wheel to cool down before they drive. A local wears oven mitts. Transplants also burn themselves on the seatbelt buckle. Every. Single. Time. Locals just don’t wear seatbelts for a few blocks, until the AC starts kicks in.

11. Transplants give cacti wide berth. Locals just brush right by them and lean so the needles don’t break skin.

12. A new transplant thinks about it when the waiter asks if they want more chips and salsa. That’s how the waiter knows to charge for a second basket. A local knows it’s implied that you always want more, and they damned well better be free.

13. When a new transplant house-hunts, they ask about the square footage and the bathrooms. A local asks whether there’s air conditioning a swamp cooler.

14. Newbies don’t know the difference between a dirt devil and a dust storm. Arizonans know it’s probably both.

15. If a new transplant sticks around long enough — say, year-round for 15 to 30 years — you’ll find them moving rattlesnakes, biting into a killer jalapeno, and fighting for the phenomenal and endangered landscape they’ve grown to love. And, the locals? They’re right alongside them all the way.

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.