For pretty much two-thirds of the year, when the weather is glorious and the sweltering sun is manageable, Arizona plays host to a flock of snowbirds and other tourists. Visitors and retirees can often stick out like a sunburned thumb. From a mile off we Arizonans can tell who is born and bred — or at least a long-time transplant — and who has come to sip Margaritas by a Scottsdale resort pool in December. Here are 17 ways you’re giving yourself away.
1. You’re wearing an inappropriate belt buckle.
Obviously it’s someone’s first rodeo when their belt buckle is bedazzled and as big as their head. Classy means fist-size or smaller, and maybe a sparkly rhinestone or two.
2. Your two-step boogie looks a heckuva lot like you’re being jabbed by a cattle prod.
We learned country moves in fourth grade when PE included square dancing as a core part of the curriculum.
3. You’re mounting your horse from the wrong side.
It’s the left — get your mind out of the gutter!
4. You have no idea what the terms haboob, chubasco, and monsoon mean.
Just nod and smile.
5. You have a small dog.
Arizona dogs must be big enough to fend off a coyote or a red-tailed hawk. The exception to this rule is chihuahuas, who stay indoors or tethered in doggy strollers at all times.
6. Your car is on the small side.
Some of us have big trucks because we have to haul hay or tow a horse trailer. The rest of us have big trucks to see around the motorhomes. If you have a little car, it’s either a rental because your truck broke down, or you’re not from ‘round these parts.
7. You don’t bring enough water when you hike.
Remember to bring a gallon, minimum — even if you’re just headed out for a mile in winter. Locals keep at least five gallons in their truck.
8. You need training wheels for your tequila shot.
Unless you’re under 25, in which case you’re probably drinking something fruity.
9. You complain about the heat.
Yeah, it puts us in a foul mood too. But there’s no sense in whining about it. It’s only going to get worse over the years.
10. You’re surprised when it snows.
We know, snowbirds and transplants came to escape that, but it snows here too. In some parts, we even have to scrape our windshields!
11. You’re surprised at all our boats.
Well, admittedly most of our lakes are puddles in comparison to the rest of the world’s, and our “rivers” are seasonal streams at best. But we still like to pretend.
12. You’re also confused about these terms: chimichanga, carne seca, barbacoa, lengua, and tripa.
13. You’re wearing your weight in turquoise.
Only we get to do that. We inherited that stuff.
14. You’re taking a picture in front of a saguaro.
Non-natives line up 20 deep to snap a pic in front of the Grand Canyon, and they’ll line up in front of certain giant cacti too. We love our beautiful saguaros too, we just don’t need any more selfies in front of them.
15. You’re not slathered in SPF 50.
Melanoma isn’t kidding around!
16. You’re way too close to that snake/scorpion/jumping cactus/javelina/gila monster.
Really, the warning signs are true.
17. You’re afraid of tarantulas.
They’re cute and fuzzy and they don’t bite. Usually.