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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Super Cool News: How to have a typical fall in Tucson


    The pumpkin spice latte, often referred to as PSL, is a popular seasonal beverage at Starbucks.

    Editor’s note: Super Cool News is a Daily Wildcat feature that shares the, yes, coolest news happening around town and around the country. Try not to take what its writers have to say too literally.

    Leaves changing colors, cool breezes rolling in, trading in your shorts and sandals for pants and boots, are all things that make up the fall experience. All things that don’t occur in Tucson.

    As residents of the surface of the sun, Arizona, we know that fall doesn’t exist here. Usually how it goes is that on December 21, everyone is wearing their tank tops, and on December 22, the weather drops low enough that you can put a jacket on top of that tank top.

    Because of this, most Tucsonans miss out on playing in leaves, watching the leaves change color, bundling up in big sweatshirts and fuzzy boots, the crisp air feeling of fall, etc. But fret not—if you still want to have a traditional fall in 95-degree weather, here are four things you can do to have a Tucson fall.

    1. Buy a plant, paint it over time and let it (or make it) wither

    “I’ll never forget the first time my mom brought a prickly pear home for our seasonal painting, it’s my favorite fall tradition,” said pre-med junior Kali Sanders.

    Since most trees in the desert don’t have leaves that change colors and fall off, an easy way to simulate this doesn’t take longer than a 15-minute trip to The Home Depot. Buy a tree or cactus and your favorite fall-leaf color in a can of paint.

    Then, over the course of several weeks, paint the plant. Once completely painted, begin to let the plant wither. For trees whose leaves don’t fall off naturally, pluck them off yourself. This will give you a pile of leaves to rake or play in. If you get a cactus, you can pull off the spines—the cactus equivalent to leaves—and start raking them as you would leaves. Unlike leaves however, it’s not advised that you play around in a pile of cactus spines.

    2. Begin referring to the weather as “chilly” to distract you from the heat

    Changing weather is another big part of fall. In most places, the summer-fall-winter transition happens over a long amount of time, whereas in Tucson, the transition is more like a slightly less-hot summer.

    Despite this, to get in the fall mindset, describing the weather as chilly can make you feel like there’s a cool breeze out there. Even if it’s not actually chilly outside and others might question what you’re saying, keep saying it. This will start to actually make you feel like you’re in a fall setting and will distract from the actual heat outside.

    “Once I started saying it’s chilly outside, I found that I forgot about how much I had been sweating,” said Chastity Ruiz, a junior studying retail and consumer science. “It’s a psychological thing and every so often, I can even feel what some might call a fall breeze.”

    RELATED: How to have a super cool, super hot Tucson summer

    3. Wear fall clothes and carry around a portable fan

    A fall wardrobe is essential to the fall experience, but attempting to wear them in Tucson usually results in sweat. To combat this, carry an electric fan with you, everywhere you go. A change of clothes and deodorant is also advised in cases of extreme sweating where clothes get drenched.

    “I love my fall wardrobe, but I hate this heat,” said journalism freshman Isabel Molla. “Bringing an electric fan with me everywhere helps to stop the sweating. I also find that a spray bottle helps me keep cool on those 95-degree days when I’m wearing my blanket-scarf.”

    RELATED: How to deal with bad roommates

    4. Type “autumn leaves falling” into YouTube, buy a pumpkin spice latte and cozy up in a blanket with the air conditioning on full blast in your home

    Nothing feels more like autumn than sitting by a window and watching the leaves fall. But looking outside a window in Tucson, one usually just sees some plants and dirt that every so often moves because a lizard scurried by.

    To get the fall vibes going, shut the windows, start up the computer and head to Starbucks. Buy a pumpkin spice latte and sip it while wrapped up in your warmest blanket. After you’re all comfortable, begin watching all the videos that pop up when you type “autumn leaves falling” into YouTube.

    While snuggling in your blanket, make sure that you have your air conditioning on full blast so you don’t faint from heat exhaustion.

    With October right around the corner once again, it’s important that anyone, no matter where they live, has a traditional fall experience. So break out the psychological conditioning, the combat boots and drink a pumpkin spice latte while artificially withering your cactus.

    Follow Aldo Ruiz on Twitter.

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