Arizonans are a special breed, whether native or transplanted. We’re a mix-and-match amalgamation of souls, not unlike a zorse or a pomsky. But there’s an underlying thread — perhaps made of sparkly golden sunlight — that unites us all.
Here are some lessons that come naturally to Arizonans, from which the rest of the US could benefit from adopting.
1. Respect Mother Nature.
It’s almost as if she’s using Arizona to express her anger about how she’s being treated by the rest of the country. She has some seriously satanic creatures up her flowy Sedona bell sleeves. Like venomous pink lizards, black widow spiders, and feral, tusked, pig-like mammals itching to gouge your rib cage.
2. Heal ailments naturally.
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Not only is pot legal to ease certain conditions, but Arizonans take advantage of other local medicinal flora, too — mesquite, jojoba, cat’s claw, agave, etc. We even have seed packets on loan at our local libraries for those of us who want to raise our own healing garden.
3. Don’t fear the local cuisine.
Yeah, tongue and head tacos and stomach-lining soup sound gross, especially from a run-down-looking truck that might or might not pass a health inspection. And we know that cactus-fruit candy sounds dangerous, but we like to take risks with our cuisine.
4. Obey road signs.
That blaring yellow “Do Not Enter When Flooded” diamond ain’t kidding around. Neither is the speed hump sign, the elk crossing signs, nor the earth fissure warnings down by Willcox.
5. Throw away the guidebook and ask a local.
Arizonans know the best food, trails, and historical sites, and the secret back way to get there. In exchange for a few beers or maybe some mezcal, we’re happy to share.
6. Drink all the water.
You know someone’s a non-native when they strike out into the wilderness with a dinky 16-ounce bottle of water. Even if you’re only walking a mile, bring gallons!
7. Use sunscreen.
UV light rays bore down powerfully through Arizona’s clear air. Whether in Glendale or Oak Creek, it’s as if we’re walking into a microwave on max every time we leave the casa. We don’t have a huge amount of choice in the matter, but sunscreen is an essential part of our daily routine.
8. Be active.
With such topographical diversity, there’s no excuse to stay inside and Netflix it up. You can do that after a day of hiking, rafting, climbing, caving, skiing, swimming, cycling, or playing golf on one of our thousands of courses.
9. Honor your elders.
Almost 17 percent of Arizonans are over 65. We have such a high percentage of the nation’s older folk (and retirement homes) that they make our economy function — and not just in wintertime when the snowbirds Winnebago in. Though their driver’s licenses might need to be revoked, the ancient ones sure keep the hospitals and estate sale shops stocked. It’s important to have gratitude for having an aged population here and let their pace remind you to slow down a bit (especially on the road!).