I live in Tucson Arizona.
I spend an quantifiable amount of time defending the climate to people who say "Arizona? Dry heat? Bullshit! Hot is hot!"
I am personally attesting that hot is not necessarily hot at all.
I will lay out during the months of May and June and feel chilly when I get out of the pool to dry off in 98 or 102 degree heat.

Right now, during monsoon season, the heat is kicking my ass with an atmospheric baseball bat.
Standing outside at 10 PM makes my kidneys hurt because I have been beaten, repeatedly, with heavy air. When I drive home from work in the late afternoon?
I can't lean back into my seat because the welt between my shoulder blades is throbbing.
There's sometimes respite in the middle of the night, and I only know this because once in awhile, I wake up a little during the night and have to pull a blanket up out from under two cats and a dog and up over my legs.
Of course, by the time I wake up in the morning, I am sweating and sleepy-eyed and neither of those conditions clear up during the day.

Unless it rains.
Tucsonans take monsoon storms very seriously.
It's a cultural phenomenon, not unlike hurricanes on the Southeastern seaboard.
Someone wished me happy monsoon season on Sunday and I'm not even kidding.

People who are hitting on you will offer that their most romantic evening would be one where the two of you are wrapped in a blanket and sharing a chair in an Arizona Room, sipping red wine and watching a monsoon. An Arizona Room is a screened in porch, not a room decorated in sandy colors and accented with Kokopellis.
Monsoon season means that if you get in a car accident while it's raining, you have to consider the weather as a mitigating circumstance for your insurance claim. It's RAIN. It's a lot of rain but it's..... still rain. Common sense should naturally apply.

Monsoon season also means that the whole city holds its breath and watches every cluster of even the highest clouds for the slightest indication that a storm might build. Once it breaks, people go outside. Some people run out to the driveway to back their car out of covered parking and let it get a bath from God.
Shut up! It's NATURAL!

It's a big deal, right?
But between you and me, when the first couple of storms come and go, it's sort of like the infatuation phase of a relationship ending. At first, you meet someone and you are in L-O-V-E. You can't wait to see his number on your caller ID. Every kiss is viscerally recalled when you close your eyes while you wait for your Lean Pocket to over-cook in the Kitchenette's microwave. In fact, you don't smell your Four Cheese Pizza Lean Pocket, even. You smell his manly deodorant and the clean worn-ness of his weekend shirts. You can't stop thinking about the way he smells.
During Monsoon, you can't stop thinking about smell of the desert.
This, I will not mock. The first time I smelled wet desert is as alive in me as any great kiss. It's something intangible but it carries one of the highest values to me because no matter what happens later in my life, if I become a casualty of a cruel Midwestern boomerang or if I have to move to North Carolina someday to care for deteriorating parents, I will always know that smell and be raised a little by it even if it's only a ghost in my head.

Every July, Tucsonans love Monsoon season. Like so many "loves", you realize that crushing oppressive heat is absolutely not worth the passion of the storm.
You begin to long for the rain to go away so that you won't have to, just like some people wait passively for you to break up with them so they don't have to be the bad guy. It's the oldest dude trick in the book, by the way, and it's born from the other trick of saying, "Please comfort me. I'm so upset because I hurt you."

Every mid-July, I am left wishing that I had not wished for Monsoon season.

My best friend and I were talking about that trick - you know, the one where what you wish for is never what you wanted about two weeks after you get it.

I think that feeling has to be associated with expectation. I remember one Spring Day, a weekday day reserved for an outside festival of entertainers and acid, I was tripping with the rest of my college campus. In the shivering cold of Wisconsin's April and probably not wearing enough clothing, I took it upon my self to bitchily announce to Andrew Patterson that he was an asshole and that's why I liked him so much. This would not have been memorable had one of the female witnesses raved about it like I was a grunge movie hero.
When I think about it, it's still true though... not that the kid was an asshole because who isn't a stain when faced with the sheltered access of a liberal arts college? Please.
It was awesome because I totally GOT that if you don't expect much of someone and you get your expectations exceeded, you're ahead of the game. Later in life, I was able to take that degenerated logic and make it more positive by realizing that if you don't expect someone or something to be a certain way, you're not disappointed by it.

Unfortunately, it's really fucking hard to not expect that people will be honest with you. Or that you will succeed in whatever it is that you've been working so hard to achieve, that people who see your achievements will only want more and want it immediately.

It's the same as the summer rain around here.
It's expected to be wonderfully restorative and predictable but after the first week or so, you realize that your hair is frizzy and your skin is itchy. Neither of those conditions is enjoyable in the least.
They're seem like the unfortunate karmic price for being so excited and for having so much anticipation about Monsoon season and like so many fall-start kisses, I doubt that I've learned to expect the inevitable discomfort. Even today, in a meeting with The Most Beautiful Man in Arizona, my imagination flew to places where there were babies and cats and Christmas sweaters and shit.

When really?
I should keep the "and shit" part of that sentence in mind because there's no reason to think that even though he is truly stunning, there's no reason to think that he even knows my last name, let alone what I want for our pretend ten-year anniversary.

arizonasarah at 1:19 p.m.

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