Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hell on Earth

by Pa Rock
Former Desert Rat

Even in the time of Trump, I still have one thing for which I am eternally grateful:  I no longer live in Phoenix, Arizona!

Four years ago this very month, at about this same time of the month, Phoenix suffered a heat wave that was unbearable by human standards.  For nearly a week the desert death bowl had daytime temperatures in excess of 120 degrees, and nighttime "lows" in the mid-nineties.  I was three months out of open heart surgery and not feeling my best, and that insufferable heat added layers of misery to my already fragile condition.

My good friend, Daniel Murphy, came to visit from Okinawa during that week, and as we raced from air-conditioner to air-conditioner, I remember him saying to me, "My God, Rock, how can you live like this?"  At the end of that week he and I both booked flights out of Phoenix - which was lucky because many flights had been cancelled during the week due to the excessive heat.  Daniel flew off to see other friends in Seattle, and I headed back to the Ozarks for a visit with family.  While I was in the Ozarks I found a little farm that caught my eye - full of green trees growing out of a cover of green grass - so different from the never-ending browns of Phoenix.   I determined on the spot  to put in retirement papers and move home - and I bought the farm.

Now, four years later, my friends in Phoenix are suffering the same killer heat.  All week the temperature has climbed above the 120 degree mark, and flights are once again being cancelled at Sky Harbor Airport.  The people of Phoenix, a few of whom I love dearly, are living on a stove top with all of the burners blazing.

There are some places on earth where human beings were just not intended to live, and the scorched bowl that is Phoenix is one of those places.

I called my friend Marjorie in Phoenix yesterday afternoon to see how she was faring.  Marjorie, who grew up in Jamaica and loves warm weather, is not enjoying this summer in the desert.  She said that she does her daily walk every morning at five a.m. while the temperature is still "down" in the nineties, and then once she gets to work she stays indoors until it is time to leave.  There are no leisurely drives around town looking for a nice place to do lunch.

Hang in there, Marjorie - it will get better - usually by November!

My two favorite nephews, Reed and Justin, are driving to Las Vegas from northern Arkansas this week.  Reed has lived in Vegas and hopefully still remembers the dangers of the desert heat, but Uncle Rock has gnawed at each of them anyway with warnings to be careful and to take along twice the amount of water in ice chests that they think they could possibly need.  (I never drove anywhere in Phoenix, regardless of the season, without several bottles of water rolling about under the seats of my car.)

Justin suggested that he and Reed might make a YouTube video of themselves frying an egg on a sidewalk while on their drive-about.   I suggested that they add meat and toast - or perhaps make it a "full" English.  Hash browns would probably fry up nicely (and quickly) on a Vegas sidewalk!

(Years ago when I was dating a school teacher, we would fly to Vegas each August as an end-of-summer getaway.  There, while wilting along the streets of Las Vegas, we would watch the desert birds diving into the motel swimming pools!)

Stay safe, guys!

(Just so you know, Reed and Justin are my only nephews - and definitely my favorites!)

And for all of my friends still trapped in the hellhole of Phoenix, come see me at The Roost.  It's supposed to rain today!

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