For Utahns, stepping outside this month has felt like stepping in a preheating oven well on its way to roasting temperature. We’ve been in the high 90s, flirting with triple digits, for the past week, and the forecast for next week looks dire. I’ve been hitting up everyone I know who has access to large bodies of water, trying to charm my way into pool invites.

Ask me how I’m feeling standing outside around 4 p.m. and I will describe the ark-opening scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” where the Nazis’ faces melt off. Every conversation I’m having begins with “Can you believe how hot it is?” and my kids are consuming Otter Pops faster than grocers can keep them on the shelves.

Yes, I’m being dramatic about the heat as I am wont to do about any extreme weather, but it is actually very hot, dangerous, and should be taken seriously by vulnerable populations.

But I also know it could be worse. It could be humid.

I spent two summers in Washington, D.C. — long enough to start stories with, “When I lived back East.” As I do. Often. Then I regale listeners with the harrowing tales of living in our nation’s finest swampland — insects the size of my head, rain that mimicked the ice-bucket challenge, and worst of all, the constant, oppressive humidity.

I don’t know if the temperature ever rose above 85 degrees during my time on the other coast, but I know I’ve never felt hotter. Temperature-wise, that is. I’ve certainly been more attractive than I was those two summers, drenched in sweat, mascara running down my face, hair limp.

That was not my first introduction to the uninhabitable conditions of the East. Years ago my family took a trip to Boston in August. While there we decided to walk the Freedom Trail. It took all day, mostly because we had to stop for water every 15 minutes. As we climbed the steps of the Bunker Hill Monument, we rubbed shoulders with other sweat-soaked tourists, all huffing and puffing. At the trail’s conclusion, I was exhausted and dehydrated and sure I had just completed more exercise than I ever had before. I asked the guide how much ground we had covered, expecting the answer to be 10 to 15 miles. Two and a half, he told me.

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Here, shade means something. Back East, shade means nothing. Here, shade is a respite. A shaded area is a solid 20 degrees cooler than an unshaded area because the heat comes directly from the sun. There, the heat still comes from the sun, but it’s coupled with the moisture in the air, making an inescapable combination. Relief can only be found indoors, where the air conditioning is always on way too high, if they have any.

We like to think we’re tough out here, what with our tumbleweeds, cacti and cowboy lore. We talk a big talk about the Wild West. But in my opinion, Billy the Kid would have withered after 30 seconds outside in a humid climate. Duels would have been canceled all the time due to the white and black hats not wanting to spend a single second outdoors.

Yes, I’m aware that Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in New Jersey in July. But they weren’t wearing chaps. And they had probably acclimated, or at least claimed to have acclimated, just as all people on the East Coast claim.

“You get used to it,” they say, and I’ve never once believed them.

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But I know the reverse is true. Just as I melt into a puddle the second I cross the Mississippi River, East Coasters turn to dust in western states. “My skin becomes ash the second I step off the plane,” visitors from the other side of the country say. “It feels like I have sandpaper in my nose.“

“At least it’s a dry heat,” we tell them as they struggle to breathe.

These are our respective coastal identities, and, as counterintuitive as it may seem, I believe it’s what unites us best. We’re a divided nation in many ways, but we have mutual respect and horror for the way the other half lives in the climates they call home.

Indivisible, with moisturizer and bug spray for all.

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