The other day we were at Costco, walking down one of the aisles with seasonal merchandise. In Tucson, that means outdoor patio sets, huge bags of pool chemicals, crates of alcohol, and large pull-down sun shades, as you see here:
On this particular mid-April day, it was something like 90 degrees outside, blazingly sunny without a cloud in the sky, with a steady lukewarm wind that made it feel like someone was just constantly breathing on you. I turned to Jeremy and I said, "I need one of those sun shades to just follow me around outside, at all times."
That's how I know I have Reverse Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder.
I grew up in Oregon where regular SAD is so common that we have lessons in church about recognizing the symptoms of it. So I know it when I see it. Except here in Tucson, with Reverse SAD, I find myself dreading the inevitable onslaught of summer even when it's only February and "only" 80 degrees outside. I seriously cannot enjoy the mild winters here because all I can think about is, "If it's this hot in December, just think about what it will be like in May..." and it's all I can do not to throw up.
This, despite having never spent an actual entire summer in Tucson since we've been here. But I've experienced a few snippets of August and a couple of weeks in May, and that's been bad enough for me.
I realize that some people love the desert and its accompanying summers of death. But I am not one of those people. Opinion aside, however, let's get some of our facts straight. These are some things I hear all the time from people who don't live here, telling me how great I have it.
Myth: You are sooooooo lucky not to have to freeze all winter and pay ridiculously high heating bills!
Rebuttal: Talk to me in May (or heck, APRIL), and ask me how much I'm paying for AC.
Myth: Yeah, but at least you can play with your kids out of doors!
Rebuttal: Except when I can't, for example from June to September when it's 115 degrees outside.
Myth: The desert may not be green, but it is beautiful!
Rebuttal: Only if you go north of River Rd or all the way over to Saguaro National Park. Otherwise, the "desert landscape" consists of dirt, rocks, and weeds. What I would give for some grass for my baby to sit on at the park so she can eat healthy greens instead of sand, twigs, and pigeon poo.
Myth: Don't you just feel so connected to the land, though, all natural and earthy, living in the desert?
Rebuttal: Not really. I don't know that there is anything more artificial than going from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned business, and then back again. Even with all the AC, I can't forget that it's more than 100 degrees outside because the car steering wheel remains too hot to touch for five full minutes, and the buckles on my kids' carseats give them 2nd-degree burns.
Myth: But I knew someone from Tucson, and they showed me pictures of their house, and it was beautiful, and they loved it!
Rebuttal: This person, whoever they are, did not live in Tucson. They lived in Marana, Oro Valley, the Foothills, or Sahuarita. That is not the same thing as Tucson, and if you try to tell me that it is, I will smack you. A good rule of thumb for trying to determine if someone actually lives in Tucson is to ask yourself the following questions: Is there an artificial lake? Sidewalks? A complete absence of registered sex offenders? In public places, is the chatter of those around you primarily in English? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it's not Tucson.
Myth: But at least you can go swimming all the time.
Rebuttal: Well, there is that.
The good thing is that, much like a SAD-afflicted person fleeing Oregon for sunnier skies in California, I will be removing my Reverse SAD self to a land with four seasons soon enough. Upstate New York, here I come!
It's going to be cold. It's going to be gray. And I'm going to love it.
PS - If you thought this was bitter, read this (PG for language) and you'll see that I'm actually restraining myself quite a bit in this blog post.