But It's a Dry Heat

I am officially Out West right now, having arrived in Phoenix 22 hours ago (I think. This time zone difference, the fact that Phoenix doesn't participate in daylight savings time and I have to stop and think what season it is before I can do the subtraction, and the way every time I think of Greenwich Mean Time my mind wanders to Greenwich Village and the after-hours shops I went to there once . . . makes it impossible for me to know what time it actually is here or back home.) To make matters worse, my iPhone automatically switches to local time when it finds me (and it finds me. It always finds me.) but my laptop doesn't. My poor little mac laptop is apparently in the slow class. "It's OK, little guy. If you want it to be 9:07, it can be 9:07."

But I'm in Phoenix! Before I landed in Dallas, my layover, the farthest west I had been was northern Illinois, near the Wisconsin border, where the kids and I used to go to the Renaissance Faire. That was and still is the farthest north I've ever been, too. I don't get out much.

My son was hoping we would lay over in Houston, because he said the Houston airport has a life-sized bronze statue of George W. in it and we had planned all kinds of photo ops with it. But instead we got Dallas, which wasn't very Texasy. There was a Dickey's BBQ in the food court, I saw one cowboy hat and not a single snakeskin boot. Come on, Dallas, you can do better.

God was going through his brown phase when he made Arizona. It is brown, brown, brown. I first noticed this on the plane. They made me take a window seat. I tried to switch with my seat mate, a stranger but nice guy who was moving from Mississippi to Phoenix, but he was 8 feet tall and his legs wouldn't have fit. He was nice, but not that nice. So I closed the window and refused to look out at takeoff, because I still believe that a giant Winnebago with wings cannot stay up in the air for very long.

But about a half hour before we were due to land, I peeked out of the window and - Hello, brown! It was like a giant brown granite counter top with some darker and lighter brown striations. There were mountains, too, and as we started to descend I could see these circles that were clearly some attempts at agriculture, but if anyone knows what those circles are, please tell me. They were perfectly formed.

It was so beautiful that I was able to take my eyes off the piece of metal that was lifting just a little bit off of the wing, didn't seem to be bolted down quite as well as its counterparts further up the wing. And is that a piece of white athletic tape over there????!!!! I was able to soothe myself by looking back at the brown, the lovely brown . . . everything is going to be fine, Diane, just go toward the brown . . .

My son told me I would notice right away how easy it is to breathe in Arizona. I am impervious to allergies, asthma, "sinus" and other breathing related diseases so I couldn't really tell the difference, but when people say "it's a dry heat" when talking about the weather in Arizona and how it can be 120 degrees but you're still out there running through the fields of brown like it was a mere 98, they're right. Two things: 1) You don't sweat no matter how hot it is and 2) when you open the car door after it's been sitting in the sun for three hours while you eat the best house ranch salad dressing in the world at The Old Spaghetti Factory on Central Avenue in Phoenix, the temperature in the car is the same as it is outside. In you did that in Florida, you'd get bruises from the built-up humid heat as it hit you. In Phoenix, I bet you never see someone airing out their car before they get in it. I didn't see a single sunshield.

Yesterday we drove around Phoenix a little bit, did some shopping for my son's dorm room, ate above mentioned spaghetti factory food, took a picture of me next to some giant cacti, and because of the time change, it was still only whatever o'clock, or whatever. All I know is after getting up at 4 a.m. Florida time to catch the plane, getting here, getting luggage, getting a car, getting all excited about the brown and the dry, shopping and all, I was exhausted and fell asleep at something something o'clock.

Before I went to sleep, I turned on the hotel TV and saw that the Obama family was just landing at the Phoenix airport for a trip to the Grand Canyon. I watched live coverage of Air Force One taxiing at the same place our flying Winnebago was. I bet there's no athletic tape on that plane.

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