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Two Standard Comments

As the warm weather approaches in Tucson, people all over town are compelled to let me in on a little secret: “It gets hot here.”

This past two weeks, we have had only one day where the temperature did not reach 90 (it was only 89 on Tuesday). Since it is only May, some would call that a clue. The local weather forecasters say the average first day of 100 degrees arrives about May 11 on average (which coincidentally is the average last freeze back in Vermont and thus marks a safe date to plant your vegetables).

Hardly a day goes by without someone spotting our green Vermont license plates and making one of the Two Standard Comments:

1) “You’re a long way from home.”
2) “Ever been here in the summer?”

The latter comment is said with a knowing smile. If we take the bait, the followup is, “It gets hot here.” At first we took this seriously, and would attempt to explain that we’ve been here for a while, and yes, we are aware that it gets hot. But we’ve come to realize that both of the Two Standard Comments are like pickup lines in a bar; They’re just intended to foster conversation.

Sure, a lot of people probably wish we hadn’t considered the possibility that it gets really hot in the desert southwest in the summer. Imagine the fun watching our jaws drop as they explain the realities of 110 degree days — every day — for weeks on end. We might even drop whatever we’re carrying and run screaming to the nearest airport in search of a flight to anywhere other than this scorching land. What fun that would be to watch!

I expect we’ve disappointed a few people. We have explained a dozen times in the past two weeks that we don’t expect to spend any summers here at all. After all, we are Avis Niva, snowbirds (non-retired variety). I’ve stopped mentioning that, too, because it seems to kill the conversation. I think it’s a bit like running away to Florida from New England. You’re expected to stay and do penance with the everyone else. Nobody wants to hear about your winter in the sunshine, and here in Tucson nobody wants to hear about the cool green summers of Vermont.

When we are away from our car, we can generally escape the Two Standard Comments and their variations. But I did get zinged by a guy at Lowe’s last week. I asked a store employee where I could find thermometers. He immediately began leading me to Aisle 37, and along the way, he said, “So when did you move here?”

“Just bought a house last week,” I said. “How did you know?”

He grinned at me. “Nobody here buys thermometers. We don’t want to know how hot it is.”

But just in case you didn’t know, it gets hot here.

One Response to “Two Standard Comments”

  1. Roy Zinser Says:

    Reminds me of deployments to the Mid-East. I’ve got a picture somewhere of a thermometer in my HQ tent with the red indicator liquid maxed out at the top of the scale – over 140… The guy at Lowes was right; you don’t want to know how hot it is!