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Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Have you been outside lately? Dear readers, stay inside! Do not venture out into the Valley of the Burning Inferno where folks have to wear gloves (I keep oven mitts handy) just to touch the steering wheel of their vehicle after it has been parked outside. It is the place where flip flop sandals disintegrate and leave people stranded in the middle of a parking lot screaming for help, because one foot down on the pavement results in a trip to the emergency room! Oh yea, Phoenix is pretty scary right now.

Glad we all survived the last blast of sweltering temperatures. Thankfully, it’s not really too hot; it’s all in our head! That’s right, all the sweat that’s been dripping off of people, the heatstroke that many have been experiencing when they do simple tasks like fetch the newspaper or walk to the car, this blood-boiling, suffocating, skin-frying blast furnace is just a figment of everyone’s imagination. I’m glad, too, because if that heat were real, I’d be miserable.

Some nut, (excuse me, I mean doctor) came up with the idea that living in extreme conditions is rarely as bad as we imagine it. I feel cooler already. But just the other day I was outside in Anthem at around four in the afternoon, and it occurred to me that I might spontaneously combust (my husband says that I shouldn’t worry about this). Obviously, I should worry about it! Yikes, there is documented evidence that people have just gone poof – up in smoke – becoming an instant fireball! All that’s left of them is a little pile of ashes.

Hey, if heat is really just exaggerated in our minds, than my mind is like a runaway horse, galloping through an inferno every time I step outside. But I try to keep a positive attitude - I start out pretty happy, until I have to do something that involves a few minutes of outdoor exposure. I know it’s hot when some people have to coax their dog to go outside to go potty.

Getting back to spontaneous human combustion, I know I have written about this mysterious “event” before, but with temperatures over 117 degrees in Phoenix, I think we all need to be careful. It seems that quite a few poor souls have gone up in ashes. Dear Readers, be very cautious, as the first sign of becoming a human torch is feeling hot, and the second sign is smelling smoke. I asked a local fireman if he thought we should carry around little fire extinguishers, just in case we get overheated. He said it probably wouldn’t help much, because by the time we smell smoke, it’s too late! Ouch…I hope I make it through this summer.

Okay, let’s face it, we are blessed to live in a beautiful place, but we sure could use more rain (and cooler temperatures). Did I mention that one way to mentally cope with heat is to keep looking at all of your winter clothes hanging in your closet? Even taking out a jacket and putting it in plain sight, works wonders. I keep a sweater hanging on the back of a door, as if to imply that I’ll need it soon. I can dream that a delicious breeze will whip up and drop the temperature twenty degrees and that I’ll shiver slightly if I sit outside on the patio without a cozy wrap.

When I watch the news and they keep announcing a “heat alert” for the entire southwest, all I can think about is leaving town. Point me north to higher country (a balmy 88 degrees in Flagstaff doesn’t seem too refreshing). Okay, maybe we need to head west! Yes, the best way to stay cool is to get the heck out of here. I’m going to the ocean, where the thermometer never goes above seventy-two and cold waves work far better than any fire extinguisher. Children can run outside at noon and play! Best of all, walking barefoot will not result in a trip to the emergency room.

Let’s face it, why bother with the “mind-over-matter” hocus-pocus of trying to stay cool. We have a beach just a six hour drive away! Point yourself west and save your life! Quick, before you smell smoke. There is still time to grab a towel, bathing suit, sun block and beach chair. There is a place (not just in our minds) of refreshing breezes, white sand, cool water and perfect weather.

Get out that sweatshirt, pack the down comforter, and be prepared to be chilly! Still coping with the heat? Go away! Survive the summer by using “mind over matter.” Have a mind? Then what’s the matter? Leave tonight! Hurry…before the smoke you smell is your own! See you somewhere else.

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