Photo: Ingus Kruklitis/Shutterstock

How to Confuse Someone From Arizona

by Angela Orlando Sep 4, 2018

Arizonans are an astute and rugged bunch. We are well equipped to deal with weather extremes and ranch mishaps. We deftly dodge what are perhaps the world’s worst drivers. We negotiate our elders’ strict norms and expectations, and tiptoe around drunk students’ messes. We accommodate international tourists and seasonal snowbirds as they hit the Grand Canyon and golf courses. But still, there’s a range of surefire ways to confuse the native Arizonan, and here’s 12 ways to do so.

1. Pass in the passing lane while driving on a multi-lane road.

We do know that Arizona law — presumably every state’s law, actually — decrees that the left lane is for passing slower moving vehicles, and when you’ve done so, you need to immediately scooch back over into the traveling lane. In practice, native Arizona drivers propel their vehicles slowly and permanently in the passing lane, forcing speedier cars to go around them unsafely in the right-hand lane. We don’t know why you’re honking, much less flipping us off.

2. Ask us why we don’t change our clocks for daylight savings time.

Better question: why do you? We’ve heard theories involving agriculture, harvesting, and schoolchildren. But truly, aren’t you confused about what time TV shows start and stuff? We just keep our clocks on whatever time it is all year around, and our minds, hearts, and technology remain happy with that.

3. Say a radio station starts with the letter “W.”

All radio stations start with “K,” don’t they?

4. Talk about a turnpike.

Is it a fish? An Olympic dive? Maybe a hairstyle? And what is this “toll road” you speak of?

5. Talk about taking Highway 10 or Interstate 10.

To Arizonans, it’s “THE TEN.” To get to Los Angeles or Texas, you just get on “THE TEN.”

6. Say you want to move to California.

Yeah, yeah. The beaches. The weather. The beautiful people. The art and culture. The jobs. But think about the cost of living! You can still buy a full-on, actual house in certain parts of Arizona for less than $150,000. You can’t even rent an apartment for a year in a nice part of Los Angeles for that.

7. Or say you don’t like spicy food.

That just sounds like gibberish. Bell peppers are not hot. We use ghost pepper hot sauce on our tacos, in margaritas and beer, and just to drink straight out of the bottle and we’re still kicking.

8. Say you can’t drive a four-by-four or, goodness forbid, a stick shift.

Wait. Have you never had to dig yourself out of the mud on a back road? Never had to tow your buddy out of a bonfire party with a winch? What if there was an emergency involving cattle?

9. Say you don’t appreciate David Spade.

There’s a whole slew of funny people that originate from or grew up in the Baby State, and we love them with all our spiny desert hearts. Though their acting roles may have been questionable in the past, we have faith that they’ll come around and be cast in something award-winning soon.

10. Hike in the desert without enough water.

The desert, mountains, and flash floods are not kidding around. The canyons and arroyos will break your legs. The snakes, spiders, and cacti are all out to get you, each in their own painful way. You’re going to want water while you’re waiting with the hallucinations for the helicopter to rescue you. And maybe if you drank enough water, you wouldn’t need to be rescued in the first place.

11. Parallel park.

You want to really trip us out? Do that fancy maneuver where you pull forward and then back up in your car, spin the wheels back and forth a few times, and end up right by the sidewalk. That’s so cool.

12. Carry your dog around in a bag.

You already have a miniature dog with an afro. That’s weird enough. But why won’t you let it walk on the ground? That’s why it has four legs. It wants to run, chase balls, frolic! It wants to encircle cows or sheep! It wants to go up and down mountains with you. There’s no way on the planet it wants to be rolled around in a carriage or strapped to your chest in a Babybjörn. Can you not hear it crying? And don’t tell an Arizonan you painted its claws pink. That’s just wrong.

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