Originally Published: June 30, 2013 6:01 a.m.
It's getting hot. Darned hot. Peel off your skin hot. Consider shaving your head hot. Notice everyone has sweat stains down the back of their shirts hot. Talk to complete strangers about the heat hot. Too hot for anyone to say, "Hot enough for ya?"
So hot that you can't get home from the store before the popsicles get soft in your car. So hot that you run from your air conditioned car to your air conditioned house. But when you run from your air conditioned house to your-not-air-conditioned car, all you can do is yelp as your fingers stick to the melting plastic of your steering wheel.
Now, you know your old pal Casey never, ever complains about anything. I like to dispense a little advice, give my own tortured view of the world.
But I can't, because of the hot.
Mind you, I hate the cold. I grew up in Wyoming, and the summers were fantastic. Everything green and lush, and in the small town where I grew up, we had rain most afternoons that would cool things down considerably.
But the decent weather lasted only about four months. Then, it was practically winter for the other eight months. In fact, my wife and I moved from Wyoming because I so hated the cold. When we first moved to Laramie, Wyo., to go to college in January of 1996, it was 20 below every day for two weeks straight.
It was cold. Darn cold. Snot freezes in your nose cold. Run from your heated car to your heated house cold. But when you do it the other way around, well, you first have to scrape the ice off your car, and then you have to pry open the door that's frozen shut, then your breath makes the windows turn gray with frost, and your hands stick to the frozen plastic of your steering wheel.
And I do love the heat. But there's one big difference between the heat and the cold: If you're cold, you can always put more clothes on. No matter what the temperature, you can eventually get to some semblance of comfort.
But if you're hot, you can't take any more clothes off to get comfortable. Believe me, I've tried.
And your skin prickles, and the heat smacks you in the face like a wave.
I've been to Phoenix today, and every time I go there, it makes me miss Prescott so. Sure, we had a nerve-wracking fire near us recently, so everything isn't perfect. It's dry. Darned dry. So dry it... but I digress.
It's funny, if you meet a Phoenician in the winter, and you tell them you're from Prescott, they're all smug. "Oh, you're from Prescott, eh?" they say in voices dripping with condescension as they adjust their shorts in January. "Well, I bet you're happy to be down here. You know, away from the weather."
As if weather's a dirty word.
But you meet the same Phoenician in the summer, and you see the bittersweet longing in their eyes as they picture cool mountain air.
Of course, it hasn't been exactly frigid in Prescott lately. But still, cooler than Phoenix.
(Take that, Phoenix!)
But "weather" isn't the dirty word that some people think it is. As a friend once told me not too long after my family moved to Prescott, one of the wonderful things about Prescott IS its weather. It has four seasons. I've never lived anywhere with four seasons before. In Wyoming, the joke was that the state only had two seasons: Winter and Road Construction.
Phoenix seems to enjoy one extended summer. In fact, despite having an elevation of around 1,100 feet, the city is still somehow magically only about 40 feet away from the sun. You can feel each solar flare.
But Prescott has a lovely fall, a relatively mild winter (at least for this Wyoming boy), an obvious spring (sure the weather is windy and often unpleasant, but there is an actual spring, not just an end of winter and beginning of summer) and summer that doesn't melt you, but still is hot enough to remind you that, yes, you're in Arizona.
So, I put up with the discomfort of the heat because it's better than the alternative: living in the winter wonderland of the Northern states, or the sweat-inducing fever of Phoenix.
Heck, when my wife asked my daughter Annie if she ever wanted to live in Phoenix, she quickly replied, "No! It's hot!" When it's hot enough to annoy an 8-year-old, it's too hot.
As German physicist Herman von Helmholtz said, "The older view of the nature of heat was that it is a substance, very fine and imponderable indeed, but indestructible, and unchangeable in quantity, which is an essential fundamental property of all matter." I tend to agree with the older view, Herm. I can feel the heat, fine and imponderable, pouring over me like a wave.
But more so in Phoenix. Yes, we will come see your Diamondbacks play and visit your water parks, but when you want to buckle your seatbelt in August without an oven mitt or experience a thunderstorm other than at the Rainforest Café, you know where to find us. Hooray for Prescott!