I have only lived in a few places in my three decades on this planet. I was born in Las Vegas, NV, and raised in Henderson, NV. After college I moved to a Christian camp above a tiny mountain town called Oakhurst, CA, about 45 minutes north of Fresno, CA. Now, I reside in Yuma, AZ. It's been my home for 7 1/2 years now. To native Yumans (as residents of Yuma like to be known) that's nothing. To those who are in and out of here in a blink of an eye because they are military or Border Patrol families that get transferred, it's an eternity. My husband and his parents are natives, as are my closest Yuman friends, so I feel like a native myself sometimes, especially since I have resigned myself to the fact I will, in all likelihood, live here for the remainder of my life.
Most people who find that I have relocated to Yuma from a glitzy and glamorous place such as Las Vegas will ask, first, why did I move here, and second, do I like it. The answer to the latter is a simple yes. I like it. That usually leads to another inquiry as to why I like it, particularly in comparison to my former home. My response: I guess when you know you are probably never leaving a place, you might as well like it.
Anywho, since I fancy myself a "naturalized" native of Yuma, I have come up with some tell-tale signs that you are a Yuman.
1. When asked, people will tell you in summers how long they have lived in Yuma. Typically this only comes from people who have not been in Yuma very long or won't be here much longer. Example, "This is my 3rd summer in Yuma." This happens because the summers are so severe and so harsh they consider it a badge of honor to have spent one or more summers here. Whatever, it's a dry heat.
2. You know that you shouldn't, or rather, cannot, make an unlighted left turn in the winter. This is a result of the dramatic increase of traffic in the winter months as a result of the mass influx of senior citizens in diesel trucks escaping the snow and ice in their home towns to enjoy the "warm" winter months of the desert southwest. And eat lunch at Sam's Club.
3. You consider Mexican cuisine to be the 7th food group. Yuma has more Mexican restaurants per capita than any other city in the world. Even cities in Mexico. Or at least it seems like it.
4. Flip-flops are appropriate year-round, any-occasion footwear and you have more than enough pairs in your closet to prove it. Reason: it's hot!
5. You will attend the grand opening of anything. It doesn't matter what it is, if it is brand new and it is opening in Yuma, you will be there. Yumans get very excited about new businesses, so they come out in droves to check something out the week that it opens its doors.
6. About 90% of people will give you a crazy look and say "Where?!" when you tell them that you live in Yuma, AZ. Next, they will ask if it is near Phoenix (or Tucson) because they have a brother/sister/aunt/cousin/college roommate that lives in Phoenix (or Tucson).
7. You personally know one or more farmers. I'm talking about people that own a farm and/or are responsible for the growth and harvesting of a variety of crops. Like, acres and acres and acres of crops. These people will often dress in jeans and Red Wings (the men) and tell time in agricultural seasons, like "last melon season....". Their vehicles are often very muddy, as well. Yuma is the Winter Lettuce Captial of the World, you know. For a city girl like me, this was a biggie. I never met a farmer before I moved here. I only knew about these mythical creatures from movies and books.
All joking aside, I do love my home. Yes, it's hot, and holy heck, those snowbirds are enough to make you start drinking wine-in-a-box, but it's a good place. I am sure there are more that could be added to this list. What are your Yuman-isms?