Monday, May 11, 2009

Hello. I'm Paul and My Face Is Melting

Flying into Phoenix between May and September, you can get a brief idea of what the neutron bomb would have done; leave the buildings - get rid of the people.

Only when you land do you see there actually are lots of people. They're just all inside in air conditioned comfort. They're all inside because it's hot. Really hot. Super hot.

When you check into the Hilton in Scottsdale, they give you a complimentary bottle of water. They do this for two reasons.  1. It's a sort of reward for not dying during the 12 mile journey from the airport in the middle of the afternoon. 2. They give you the water so you won't die before you check in and cause them the aggravation of carting your dead carcass away before you've spent any money.

During the winter months, the 2 bedroom hotel room we stayed in usually costs 1000 dollars a night. Yet, between May and September, it's 50 cents.

Don't get me wrong, I love Scottsdale. It's beautiful in a deserty sort of way. But when it's hot, it'll whomp your butt.

On Saturday we attended my Nephew's wedding. It was my second outdoor wedding in the Phoenix area. Two thoughts raced through my mind as the beautiful couple exchanged their vows. The first was this: "Boy, what a great couple. They sure love each other." My second thought was: "My face is melting." 

When the couple kissed as newly married man and wife, I cried. I cried because it was a beautiful moment. I also cried because my nose had fallen off my face and was now next to my shoe. 

Desert heat is a heat all its own. Call it dry. Call it whatever you like. It's hot.

A few hours before the wedding my wife said she couldn't find the aspirin she had brought. Being a loving husband, I went to go get her some. There was a shopping center across the street from the hotel so I decided to walk. Now, I've walked before. You put one foot in front of the other and move. I know how. 

The shopping center was less than 1000 feet away. If that. But about 200 feet into my walk I noticed I was the only human being walking. As I crossed the street I noticed people in their cars staring at me and pointing. I heard a little girl say, "Mommy, is that man going to die?"

Now streets in Scottsdale are incredibly wide. I don't know why. But they are. Driving at 60mph it takes at least 3 days to cross a typical street. So walking is a bit of a challenge.

Half way through the intersection I wondered why the hell my wife needed aspirin anyway. My legs were mushy. I was thirsty. I was mushy and thirsty and started batting at imaginary spiders. These are the classic symptoms of 'Desert Head'. I wanted to turn around. But I was more than halfway through the intersection and wouldn't make it back before the light changed.

My flip flops aren't rated for this sort of extreme heat and began melting into the road. People watched from their cars as I sweated and mushed by them. Extreme heat tends to make everyone look like Christopher Walken. 

I finally made it across the street. The drug store was only about a hundred feet more. I looked at it, but could go no further. I decided to go back to the hotel.

I crossed the street again. The little girl and her mother had come back the other way in their car, presumably to see if I had died.

When I crawled into the lobby of the hotel an hour later, I told them I was checking in. They gave me a water.

When I finally made it back to my room, my wife said she had found the aspirin. 

Thanks, honey.


  1. It's stories like that makes me want to never, ever visit my sister in Tucson...

  2. I remember on the last day of Animania IV as we all gathered around outside the hotel in Sherman Oaks, it was about 115 degrees or something. I felt like, "Ugh. It hurts just to stand here. It should not hurt just to stand here."

    Morgan Hill, where I just moved from, was starting to get 110+ degrees in the early autumn (along with its usual 30-40 percent humidity). Blarg. From what I can see, it never gets that hot here in Reno (with its 10-15 percent humidity), even though it's deserty.

    And it's odd really. You look around here, and sure it's deserty. But it also has more water than California. The lakes are real lakes. The reservoirs are real reservoirs. It's all the snow melt from the Sierras, of course. It makes lakes and stuff. But most areas don't get any of it, so it stays a desert... just with wet bits.

    I suppose it'll dry up by mid-summer. I dunno. We shall see. Or at least I shall.

  3. "Extreme heat tends to make everyone look like Christopher Walken."
    LOL Duly noted.

    My husband told me when he was in Iraq, it was around 120 degrees, but he has such a high threshold for heat that it didn't bother him. The constant rain, which led to constant mud is what bothered him. I'm convinced if I had been in Iraq I would have combusted upon arrival because I have such a low tolerance for heat. My husband on the other hand eats food when it's so scolding that it burns a layer of skin right off the roof of his mouth. He just peals it off and keeps eating.. DX

  4. Living in AZ for 23+ years now I could not help but laugh hysterically at how accurate you are. Had I seen you on the street I would have offered you my own bottle of water (as Zonies we are all always equipped with precious precious water otherwise we'd wilt and die). As it was I was locked in the house to avoid the heat. The trick is to only come out at night. Most Arizona's are vampires really. It seems counter-intuitive with this much sun but that's why they do it... keep the norms on their toes.

  5. Arizona.. the Vampire state.. I'm learning things on this blog!

  6. I once attended a Phoenix wedding and knew it might be heat stroke weather when the plane arrived at midnight and it was still 100 degrees in the dark. The next day, during the outdoor wedding, it was 114. I still recall the beyond surreal feeling when I grabbed and opened an innocent looking metal car door handle that had been sitting in the sun all morning. This solar concentration is another reason John McCain's head looks like cracked rubber.

  7. I have never laughed so hard at a blog entry. Well excluding your sound of music video blog. I actually showed that one to my mother. She got a kick out of it.