Some months ago I found myself in El Paso, Texas. It was a fun enough time.
But let me tell you something—as a child of the Northeast, I don’t think I would enjoy living in the desert.
Nothing about the desert seems fun to me.
The idea of having the sun beating down on me all the time? I’m good, thanks.
Oh, there were no natural windbreaks out there, so sand just got everywhere whenever the wind picked up. That wasn’t great.
I mustn’t forget to mention the random lizards and scorpions that I’d see on the side of the road.
Or the spiders. Dear God, the spiders.
I guess I’m just accustomed to not having to think about animals all up in my space living in a Northeastern city. And I think I like it that way.
But there are plenty of people out there who live in these environments and would think I’m crazy for feeling the way I do!
They told us all about what it’s like living out there after Redditor Casual_WWE_Reference asked the online community:
“People who live in desert towns or cities, what are some everyday ‘facts of life’ about living in the desert that people who live in other places wouldn’t know?”
“And they are really freaking annoying.”
“Tumbleweed is not just in the cartoons. And they are really freaking annoying. Roadrunners are also around and are pretty cute. Coyotes party and sing in groups at night, and sound creepy as hell.” ~ sonictower
“Every now and then…”
“Every now and then we get a big wind storm that piles up the tumbleweeds in people’s yards. Imagine coming home from work and having tumbleweeds piled up to your roofline.” ~ elWattully
“Always wear a wide-brimmed hat.”
“Always wear a wide-brimmed hat. Long-sleeve T-shirts are underrated. Sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen.”
“Always have water on hand. Watch for snakes. Learn about heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and their respective symptoms.” ~ ClickBang911
“In the summer…”
“In the summer we are often unable to go outside because 110-120 degree temps with little vegetation to absorb it will lead to heatstroke, and quickly.”
“Animals do not seek out the midday heat, and humans who think we’re somehow exempt from that will get sick.”
“Adobe walls keep the heat out well but are hard to put nails into. Use 3M strips? Well, they melt. In my office, I usually have to replace broken frames every time the A/C shuts off because everything falls off the wall.” ~ [deleted]
“After a few days…”
“A couple of years after college, my friends and I spent a week in Big Bend National Park. It’s a large park in southwest Texas on the Mexican border, mostly desert with mountains, and the Rio Grande.”
“To give you an idea of the size of the park, our campsite was 70 miles from the park entrance.”
“After a few days driving around out there, we noticed that people were on another wavelength from what we were used to in the city and suburbs.”
“Folks you met at a store would give you a five-minute conversation. People driving by would wave. We would wave back because you could go half an hour without seeing another soul. People are wired to be social, and being completely isolated changes how you see others.”
“The loneliest I have ever felt was in downtown Tokyo on the streets of Shibuya, surrounded by thousands. Alone in the desert, people start to see each other.” ~ Thompson_S_Sweetback
“The entire reason…”
“It gets cold at night. The entire reason the desert is tolerable once you can provide shelter and water is almost exclusively because no matter how hot it gets, it’s usually around 50, 60 at night. Sand, dust, and dirt get everywhere.” ~ BigGoose478
“Big scorpions are scary, little scorpions will put you in the hospital. Incidentally, Fallout: New Vegas lied to you – the bark scorpion is actually both the smallest common scorpion in Arizona, and it’s also the most dangerous.”
“Learn to identify your spiders; the most dangerous spiders are not particularly predatory and will leave you alone, but you need to be able to ID your southern black widow, your Arizona brown spiders, and brown recluse spiders.”
“A brown recluse spider can cause organ failure, but a hobo spider, which looks really similar is harmless to the point that scientists are now assuming incidents attributed to the hobo spider are actually just misidentified brown recluse spiders.”
“There’s no hard, fast rule with snakes. Rattlesnakes want you to eff off. They tend to avoid humans for obvious reasons but that doesn’t mean you can’t stumble across one taking a nap.”
“There’s no cardinal rule with the danger of snakes at large, but on the off chance, a snake with black, red and white striping decides to taste test you, go to a hospital pronto.”
“The Arizona coral snake isn’t actually that dangerous – relative to rattlesnakes – but it’s also the one that’s really easy to identify.”
“Despite the cutesy name, Gila Monsters are dangerous. They’re not terribly fast but they’re pretty chompy and it’s the one case where a native lizard in the United States is also venomous.”
Other bugs: Arizona gets killer bees, and a particularly large eight-inch centipede called the Desert Centipede can also give a painful bite.” ~ BigGoose478
“When you’re choosing…”
“When you’re choosing where to place your garden, remember that ‘plant in full sun’ means full sun in the Midwest. That’s really not the same in southern New Mexico, where opening the front door is like checking if the lasagna is ready.”
“I have shade cloth over everything in our vegetable garden.” ~ DanYHKim
“Logistically, unless you have cloth seats in your car or seat covers of some kind, you need a towel to sit on your car seats or you’ll burn your legs. Using oven mitts to drive is not needed now but was crucial where we were in Arizona in the 70s.”
“Wild burros would walk through your yard at night, and sometimes would let you hand feed them. Carrot tops were especially liked!” ~ ReadOnTheCrapper
“I grew up…”
“I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now live between Death Valley and Las Vegas in a rural low-elevation area. I can’t really safely go outside for what feels like half of the year.
“The temperatures where I live are insane, and they’re getting worse every year. I lost count of how many days we had over 120°F this past summer.”
“I have to physically pick up my dog to take her to the potty area. Some very cheap shoes will melt on the pavement on particularly bad days, so you can only imagine what that must be like for dogs’ feet.”
“Ground temperature is always much higher, especially asphalt. My rule of thumb is to usually take my foot out of my shoe and test it if I’m not too sure, if I wouldn’t walk on it then I won’t make my dog walk on it.” ~ Almadenn
Okay, after reading these, it seems clear to me that we shouldn’t be living out in the desert.
Why are we doing this to ourselves?
Safe to say I can’t handle it.
I don’t think I’d want to worry about my shoes melting… the humidity in the Northeast is enough!