Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

A Californian in Phoenix

I was talking with a friend of mine who grew up in Phoenix, and has always lived there, yesterday outside on a patio of a restaurant, and as usual I was reminded of weird I am. I'm a Californian in Phoenix.

Oddly enough though, I didn't live very long in California, but it has strongly influenced me. I moved there was I was 25, after I graduated from ASU, and returned to Phoenix when I was 31. And I grew up in Minneapolis, so you would think that I would be more Phoenician, or Minneapolitan?

Of course, I don't notice my weirdness until I'm around normal people, like my friend. And one of the weirdest things that I do is to sit outside on patios. In Phoenix this really makes no sense. The buildings in Phoenix are comfortable and air conditioned. And while it isn't blazing hot all year long in Phoenix, it is most of the time. And I don't mean pleasantly warm, I mean "fry an egg on the sidewalk" hot. And of course in Minneapolis it's the same, except at the other extreme end of the temperature scale (unless it's summer and humid with mosquitos). And so in a very short span of time I became addicted to sitting outside, in the beautiful weather of Southern California, especially Santa Barbara.

If you've always lived in Phoenix, I understand that you go from an air conditioned car to an air conditioned building, unless you're one of the people who has to work outside (how do you DO that?!). And so sitting outside, on a restaurant patio, has got to be the weirdest behavior imaginable. And it gets worse.

Outside patios in Phoenix are smoking areas. I'm a non-smoker myself, so when I see people outside, aside from trying to stay away from the smoke, I sympathize. Many years ago these people were allowed to smoke indoors. Now they have to go outside. I see a lot of these people, and most of them look as if they're waiting for the firing squad. Again, I sympathize. But they must look at me and wonder why I'm outside since I'm not smoking? Sometimes people ask me, as if to say, "Why are you outside?"

I sat on a patio yesterday in Phoenix (it's February) and it was glorious. When I lived in California I spent as much time outdoors as I could. I fell in love with the feeling of an ocean breeze, which I can still kinda feel in Phoenix (I have a good imagination!). I will sit outside when it's too cold, wearing a sweatshirt, I will sit outside when it's too hot, huddled in the shade (well, not in August in Phoenix!).

Luckily, my Phoenix friends humor me. If I try to explain, it seems to just make less sense. I like sitting outside. I'm a Californian in Phoenix.

Image at the top of this post: Selfie at Encanto Park, 11th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard, Phoenix, Arizona. South of Thomas Road.

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