1. Wearing shorts and flip flops in winter — to church or to climb snow berms kicked up by plows in Flagstaff.
2. Putting hot sauce on everything and rolling your eyes when someone says their food’s too spicy.
3. Keeping the shower tap set on cold. You always assume it’s going to come out scalding!
4. Checking the bedding — and shoes and clothes — for scorpions. It’s like muscle memory.
5. Checking bins and mailboxes and tire swings and everything else for rattlers.
6. Calling rattlesnakes “rattlers”.
7. Sniffing the air for creosote when it looks like it might rain. Only when that thick herbal aroma saturates the air in Southern Arizona do you know a storm is really coming.
8. Criticizing other people’s salsa, either aloud or under our breath.
9. Criticizing other states’ so-called “Mexican food.” Um, no.
10. Cooling your car off before getting in, then sitting on the seat very, very slowly to test its scald potential.
11. Getting up early — or developing extra-sensitive night vision — to get outside work done anytime between April and October.
12. Breaking cars’ windows to rescue dogs waiting inside for their owners — all throughout the state in summer.
13. Buying only white … maybe silver … cars. With beige interiors.
14. Wearing sunglasses all day, every day, even inside.
15. Owning a gigantic vehicle. How can you see around all the pickup trucks if you’re driving a sedan?
16. Determining which way is north by identifying mountains.
17. Expecting Santa to land on Astroturf landscaping, not a snowy roof.
18. Keeping no fewer than five gallons of water in the trunk of your car.
19. Correcting pronunciation of all Spanish words and place names.
20. Betting on how long before the new governor gets impeached.
21. Leaving your motorcycle helmet home.
22. Remembering that Southern Arizona and Northern Arizona could be two different countries.
23. Watching out for Southern Arizona drivers (and Californians) with 4-wheel drive cars.