". But it's a dry heat."

Yeah, and so is my oven, but I wouldn't want to spend my summer in there.

If I hear that often-repeated phrase one more time, I think I'll have to inflict bodily harm on someone. I'm not a violent person, but after living in Arizona for 16 years, I've grown just slightly weary of hearing people talk about this so-called "dry heat."

The fact is that it's 120 degrees out there. It's hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement, melt a cassette tape on a car's dashboard, and get second-degree burns from the sidewalk.

You need a pot holder to handle your steering wheel and you have to make sure you don't touch anything metal as you're sliding into your car, where the temperature is such that you have to squint your eyes so they don't get seared by the scalding air and try not to breathe too much because the air bakes the inside of your nostrils.

"But it's a dry heat."

Unfortunately, that's not much of a consolation to the little girl who fell down in the street and received second-degree burns because she couldn't get up fast enough, or the elderly woman and her two adult children who were found dead in their 130- degree Tucson home after the swamp cooler broke.

Why do we inflict this hell upon ourselves?

For some of us, it's not by choice. We're forced to be here for work or school. But believe it or not, there are people who purposely come here during the summer and find it quite an improvement over the hot and humid 90-degrees-with-90-percent- humidity that those on the East Coast endure.

Last summer I worked at a summer camp in New Hampshire and was finally able to experience firsthand what all those people had been talking about. Most of the time I loved the weather. It was a little sticky, but at least there was a cool breeze and the sun was hidden behind light clouds.

And then it hit the heat wave. I swore I would die. I don't think I was ever dry during that whole two-week period. I'd take a shower, towel off, and before I had even dried off from my shower, I'd be wet from perspiration.

No one could understand why I was complaining about the heat when I lived in Arizona. I realized, though, that not only was I unaccustomed to the humidity, but I also wasn't used to actually being outside in the heat.

Arizona summers are comparable to Midwest winters, in that we're never really out in the heat. Midwesterners probably don't go jogging during a blizzard any more than we go jogging at high noon in August. I don't know about you, but I spend the majority of my time either in an air-conditioned building or a swimming pool.

Our advantage is where they have to bundle up just to get from the front door to the car, we only need to be equipped with a pair of sunglasses . and maybe a pot holder or two.

Danielle Malka is a reporter for the Arizona Summer Wildcat. She spent last week in Mexico, perfecting her tan. Read Next Article