The time of year with Facebook feeds full of grinning children basking in the sunshine holding oversized watermelon wedges. Step away from the video games and get your butts outside summer. Bikes and forts and lawn sprinklers summer. Tag and street baseball and neighborhood barbecues summer.
Unless you live in Phoenix.
Phoenix newsfeeds show weak, barely dressed children, sunburnt and squinting at the camera with elephant tears of sweat rolling down their cheeks. Mothers in front of open refrigerators taking a little too long to get the lemonade summer. My mascara melted off my lashes at 7am so let’s call it a smokey eye summer. When is the next flight to San Diego because I am willing to pay a million dollars and my air-conditioning bill is that much anyway summer.
Don’t despair, fellow Phoenicians. There are upsides. Here are five of my favorite Phoenix summer silver linings:
1 – Every year, Phoenicians get a little better at geography. Because every summer, every single person in this city decides to pack up and move to Denver / the Upper Peninsula of Michigan / Siberia. My city would be a solid contender for Jeopardy category “Places Better than Phoenix in Summer.” (What is anywhere but Death Valley, Alex?)
2 – Our A/C bills are a Ferrari payment, but our water bills are a real savings. Because we have no use for bathing. The swimming pool sees us four times a day, the water is 95 degrees and chlorine kills more germs than bar soap. Dunzo. We’re hot, but we’re clean.
3 – We enjoy a No Cooking Summer! The stove and oven with their God-awful heat are completely off limits. Sure, the restaurants will actually cook you a hot meal if you beg, but in my house, if you attempt to turn on an appliance that emanates heat between June and mid-October, I will chain you up quicker than a Greenpeace hippie to a tree.
4 – Around July, we women master the art of fashion ambivalence. In March, your arms might be a little too wobbly for a tank top. Your knees might be a tad too wrinkly for shorts. But in August? The women of my city don sheer, spaghetti strap dresses that land well above the knee because no one gives a rip what they look when they live in Hell. 118 degrees turns body image issues into a melted pulp of accidental feminism.
5 – A Phoenix summer inspires awesome imagination games. For example, when we get in the car, we yell LAVA VOLCANO! because if you touch the metal piece on the seatbelt, your finger will melt off. I AM A FIREWALKER! is super fun when you need to get the mail and were adventurous enough to forget your flip-flops. And everyone’s favorite, MOVING GROUND PIÑATA! when you happen upon a scorpion and try to smash that crispy-crawler armed with a sandal and closed eyes because these devil creatures are seriously too gross to look at. The fact that the Moving Ground Piñata is not full of candy, but poison, just makes it more fun.
And there you have it, my contribution to Phoenix Tourism.