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Chasing The American Dream

July 07, 2005


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Fooled ya. Nope, this isn’t a music post. It’s not about *those* guys up there.
You see, I’m roasting here in what’s known as The Valley of the Sun. It was 112 here today. One hundred and twelve. Can you fathom that? How about it’s 9:30 p.m. right now and it’s still 97 degrees? Whew!

Except for a five-year stint in the Northeast, I’ve lived my life in the heat. Most of it was/is spent in the hot and humid heat of Florida. But I spent two years in Phoenix, as you know. People have often asked me this question, “which is worse, the Florida heat or the Arizona heat?” I’ve thought long and hard about the question. I can explain it this way.

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See my Starbuck’s friend here? When I order my Iced Venti Iced Coffee in Florida, by the time I get to the car, my friend here is dripping with condensation. It’s so bad, I have to wrap a napkin around it to keep from dropping the slippery thing. That’s in 90% humidity 90-degree weather. Here in Phoenix, despite the 110-degree temperatures, I don’t need the napkin because my Starbuck’s cup doesn’t sweat. A dry heat, some would say. Here’s another interesting, albeit it TMI, fact. In Florida, I’m running to the bathroom, shortly after finishing one of those Venti Iced Coffee. Coffee has a tendency to do that to me. But in Phoenix, I noticed that even after two Venti Iced Coffees, there is no urge to run to the bathroom. Why? Because the heat amazingly zaps all the liquid from you and dehydrates you.

A lot of people have said to me that the Arizona heat isn’t so bad because, “it’s a dry heat.” I gotta tell ya folks, that dry heat theory holds no water (no pun intended. Well, maybe it is intended). True, the combined heat and humidity in Florida, or the so-called heat index makes it *feel* like 112, but the actual 112 is dangerously hotter. If you don’t drink water consistently here, you can develop heat stroke without even knowing about it. It almost happened to me today. Heck, Andy and I were just playing putt-putt and, yes, we were drinking water. But when we were done, I realized my head was hurting like someone clocked me with one of Wile. E. Coyote’s anvils. It took me a good 30 minutes to regain normalcy. Andy was fine, go figure (yes Andy’s mom, we were drinking water and used sun screen).

So the answer to the ‘which is worse’ question is easily the Arizona heat. It’s like sticking your head in an oven, and it is extremely dangerous to your health. The Florida heat = uncomfortable. Arizona heat = hazardous and extreme. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go out and grab another Venti Iced Coffee.


  • YES! Be careful out there!
    That dry heat can sneak up on you. I suffered heat stroke when I was a ten year old paper girl living in Tucson. And have never been the same since. Now living in the humidity of Austin, Tx but, still have to seek Air Conditioning for our long summmers.
    Movies and ice cream shops should be familar haunts for you and Andy!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:11 AM, July 07, 2005  

  • I'm in Australia and I much prefer humidity to dry heat - at least condensation makes a play at helping keep you cool.

    By Blogger song, at 12:17 PM, July 07, 2005  

  • That tea looks yummy! Although I may have to go with a vanilla latte on rainy days like these.

    By Anonymous Alexis, at 12:46 PM, July 07, 2005  

  • You should experience Ohio heat...hot, muggy and uncomfortable as hell...its like Florida only no Ocean or anything cool to dip into except flaming lake erie!

    By Blogger Dazed, at 1:42 PM, July 07, 2005  

  • Ugh.

    I suppose there's a reason I've never been to Arizona.

    ...hope you're having boatloads of fun with the little one!

    By Blogger A, at 9:21 PM, July 07, 2005  

  • I'm in the Northeast where in the summer we have at least 3 to 4 weeks of high heat and humidity, although not all at once. My theory is this:

    With heat and humidity, my body never dries. Air conditioning is great but when you step outside and face a wall of humidity, it's just plain gross. Humidity is thick, it clogs my brain, makes me stupid and slows me down.


    In Las Vegas, it's hot and dry. The day I arrived it was 112 degrees. "Oh but it's dry, so it's different," my darling sister exclaims. Wrong. The difference is when I perspire, it dries immediately, my brain is not clogged with moisturized air. I can think, but it's still hot!

    Now, imagine getting into your car after it's been sitting for a few hours with the sun beating on it in hot, hazy, humid weather. Now imagine doing the same in hot, dry weather.

    I rest my case. When it's hot, it's hot!

    Hope you're having a great time with the boy!

    By Blogger Mari, at 12:28 AM, July 08, 2005  

  • Yeah, we went to Las Vegas last August and walking outside felt like you were opening the oven door in the kitchen. I will take dry heat over cold anyday though!

    By Blogger Elle, at 9:35 AM, July 08, 2005  

  • I spent time in L.A. in the middle of summer, and I've lived in Florida for about 12 years now. I have to say California's 100 degree temperatures were way easier to handle. My best friend, and his family, who had lived in Miami for years and then in California for years (who I was visiting) totally agree. You can get heat stroke in Florida just as easily. California may have been at 110, but I felt comfortable in it, not like I was going to die.

    By Blogger -J, at 4:27 PM, July 08, 2005  

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