10 Ways to Recognize a Native Arizonan
Despite a century of attempting to shake off its Wild West reputation, Arizona remains the bastion of cowboys, horses, and shootouts in many people’s minds. This may be because of the number of people who come here and, wanting to look like “real” Arizonans, invest in cowboy hats and boots.
Now, I don’t doubt that many tourists come here specifically for the “cowboy experience.” However, if you really want to meet an Arizonan, look for a few of these signs:
We can spot a cowboy poser at a hundred paces. There are a few real cowboys around, but boots and hat do not a cowboy make. If the man or woman standing before you in cowboy gear doesn’t have a farmer’s tan, chances are you’re looking at a non-native – probably from the East Coast.
We know that Sheriff Arpaio isn’t a native Arizonan. He’s a cowboy poser from Massachusetts.
We smile up at the sky in wonderment when it rains. Because it rains so infrequently here, this recognition tool can be hard to put into use. However, if you happen to be here when the skies open, just look around you: we’re the ones smiling and skipping around like Gene Kelly.
We have no idea how to drive in the rain. The fact that water is falling from the sky tends to distract us from the task at hand, causing our cars to hydroplane. My advice: stay off the streets if the clouds are rolling in. Phoenix’s storm-drain system is so terrible that you, too, will look like an idiot behind the wheel.
When you ask how far away something is, we will tell you in driving time, not miles. In the summer, this is primarily to assist you in planning for the amount of liquid refreshment needed. In the winter, we allow for snowbird traffic.
We curse snowbirds. We know we shouldn’t; after all, they bring revenue into our state, and most of them are lovely people. But we still believe there is something intrinsically wrong with people enjoying the beautiful Arizona winters without enduring a single Arizona summer. And they clog up our streets.
We have never been to the Grand Canyon. Okay, this one isn’t true for all Arizonans, but probably ninety percent of the native population living in the bottom half of the state have never seen this Natural Wonder of the World. We plan to see it…someday. But do you know that it’s a four- or five-hour drive from Phoenix?
We know the difference between Mexican food and Taco Bell. The meat on a real taco is shredded, the shell is fried (not baked), and Doritos are not involved.
Our homes are not decorated in a Southwestern motif. Apparently, a truckload of howling coyotes, faux Indian pottery, and chunky wooden furniture with pastel Aztec prints is given to every non-native who crosses the border with the intent of living here. Trust me – real Arizonans hate that crap.
We know that the illegal aliens aren’t here to take our jobs. In fact, they are here to do the work that most of us don’t want to do: farming, landscaping, house-cleaning, and anything else that will put food on their tables. However, their children will be taking our children’s jobs, because their parents are instilling a stronger work ethic in them than we are in ours.
And there you have it: ten ways to recognize a native Arizonan in his or her habitat. When my grandmother stopped by a little while ago, she added one more: when you complain about the weather being too warm, we’re the ones answering irritably, “Well, at least you don’t have to shovel it.”