When you’ve eaten too many block party barbecue burgers, you may want to see a gastroenterologist for your upset stomach. And when you want advice on how to beat the summer heat, you look to one of the sunniest cites in one of the sunniest states in the U.S.: Phoenix, Arizona.
Learning about the record-breaking 122-degree day in June 1990 was mind-boggling and, moreover, that our own call center manager was there to experience it! Our team in Phoenix, AZ, actually sees around 300 days of sun every year, and temperatures over 100 degrees are the norm during summer. These facts often make them leaders in swimming pool popularity, but also experts in navigating the desert climate that many of us only experience for a few select months.
However, the more I learned, the more questions I had that Google couldn’t answer, so I figured I’d ask the experts what it’s like.
Here are Lark, Emily, Tressure, Karina, Helen, and Aaron M. answering our very important sun-related questions.
What are some of the best ways to dress during a heat wave? What is your favorite summer clothing?
Lark, call center manager: Shorts, light shirt, hat, and sandals all year.
Emily, senior CSR: Summer dresses and swimsuits! I try to spend all my free time in the pool.
Tressure, CSR: As light as possible, so shorts, a shirt, and sandals, but If you have to be in it for a long time, then light pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a hat with a scarf to catch the sweat. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it will protect your skin from burning to a crisp, and more sweat-drenched material will help cool you off.
Helen, VRI team lead: I actually took some lessons on summer clothing from the Middle East. Did you know that wearing light, natural, woven fabrics can minimize the discomfort from the heat? I’ve noticed that I am way more comfortable wearing a long skirt or pants coupled with a natural fabric ¾ sleeve blouse or tunic than if I wear a tank top and shorts. It’s the same principle as double-paned windows!
Growing up near San Francisco, you can always spot a tourist in the city by their shorts and souvenir jackets, because who would expect fog during summer!? So, how can you spot a tourist in Phoenix?
Emily: Snowbirds! They aren’t really tourists, but AZ is known for our snowbirds, which are people who live here during the winter to escape colder climates. When I worked at Best Buy, we could always spot the snowbirds by their purchases (i.e., lots of printer ink since their old ink had dried up in the summer heat).
Tressure: Big hats, sunscreen on so thick it looks painted on, some article of clothing that says “Arizona” or has a cactus on it, and a little battery operated fan on a string.
Karina, quality assurance: It’s tough to spot a tourist because a lot of times it’s too hot for them to venture outside.
Do you have any fun techniques to cool down?
Lark: Walking through sprinklers. I’m not worried about getting wet since you dry out in about 2 minutes standing outside in Arizona.
Emily: Night swimming! However, this summer I’m heavily pregnant, so I’ve spent most days and nights indoors. One fun thing we’ve done is reconnected our Nintendo Wii to play Wii Sports. Anytime you can do active activities inside and not in the 114-degree heat, you are winning big!
Helen: Sometimes I put lunchbox ice packs in the kids’ bath or kiddie pool to cool it down. Even the cold water runs warm once it hits triple digits and beyond.
If you could fill a pool with anything other than water, what would it be?
Lark: ICE CUBES
Aaron, human resources: Oobleck — no belly flops in that!
Are there any misconceptions about the heat in Arizona?
Lark: Yes — summer does not end in September. Ours lasts until late October.
Emily: People always assume it is unbearable; however, anyone who has ever experienced the humidity of the East Coast knows that Arizona’s heat is MUCH more tolerable. Dry heat is a million times better than humidity. Plus, everywhere you go has AC, so it’s not a big deal!
Tressure: That it’s devoid of life. And it’s not such a dry heat anymore because there are so many pools and man-made water features.
Karina: I just think that they don’t really grasp what 120-degree weather feels like until they experience it firsthand.
Helen: It is really as hot as they say.
Aaron: “It’s a dry heat.” Heat is heat, and being out in 110+ degree weather is devastating and sucks the energy right out of you.
And finally, the million dollar question: Have you ever fired an egg on the sidewalk?
Emily: No. I have, however, baked cookies in my car!
Tressure: Yes, but it’s better to do in a skillet on the asphalt. You can also actually bake cookies in your closed car in the middle of summer.
Lark: No; however, it is great example of why you don’t take your dog for a walk during the day without putting boots on their feet.
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