Around the Bluhmin’ Town: Why we live in Arizona

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Why do you live in Arizona? This was the question I was asked with great frequency while in San Diego last week. Usually, I just smile and shrug it off, knowing that most folks who ask really don’t expect an answer.

But this last visit was different.

From the waiter to the grocery clerk, everyone seemed truly interested in why a person of supposed sound mind would want to live in our fair state. Hey, I was a little bit insulted! Why does everyone assume that all of Arizona is in triple digits all of the time?

One lady who owns the local coffee shop at Imperial Beach recognizes me because I go there every year. She wondered out loud what “hell on earth” would feel like living in Arizona in the summer.

A customer chimed in that he drove through Phoenix one July day, parked his car and burned the skin off his hands when he got back in it and touched the steering wheel.

Another person laughed that he once was in Phoenix when it was 115 degrees and never had the nerve to go back. I pointed out that Prescott is pretty cool, but no one cared.

Actually, I try to avoid all manner of “why” questions. They are a bit intrusive and any answer is taken as a weak defense. Instead, I like to smile and say I love the heat, hate ocean breezes and leave it at that.

However, after about the tenth question and “heat story,” I decided to take the offensive. “Why live in paradise when the desert is right next door?” was my response to their question. Ha! Suddenly people stopped talking and scratched their heads.

The man I rent the beach house from said that he can’t understand how people survive the heat in an Arizona summer. He elaborated, saying why “exist in misery.” I told him (with a straight face) that some folks like misery, seek out punishment and love dust, drought, monsoons, haboobs and prickly cactus. I went on to add that some people like frying eggs on the sidewalk.

The poor man didn’t talk to me much after that conversation.

Where else can you sit and watch the monsoons roll in and relish a thunderstorm? Sunsets are the best in the world, right here in our backyards. Our wildlife is abundant and fun to watch, the mountains are beautiful and if Phoenix is hot, we have the high country.

A surfer told me that without a beach and a wave, life wouldn’t be worth living. I said that I’m happy for him and left it at that. It’s good to feel passionate about where you live! It’s great to thrill to a wild ride on a longboard, skimming the tops of shimmering waves. Living in Arizona is a different type of ride.

Oh, I love Arizona. No wetsuit required, no questions asked, no excuses needed. We know why we’re here, just like we know who we are … enough said.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a question? Email Judy at