By the Time I Get To Phoenix

I just don’t get Phoenix, Arizona.  There is something about this place that just isn’t natural.

I think the main reasons I don’t get it are that I’m both Southern and from the East Coast.  It’s just too different.  It doesn’t seem natural…

You will never convince me that nature meant for 4 million people to live in the middle of a desert so they could play golf all year. In no way, does that make any sense to me.

To me, the only people who seem to live in Phoenix are people with enough money to pay for a lot of air conditioning and pools or people too poor to leave.

No matter how hard they try, there is no cultural life here.  It’s all about golf and sports.  In a place where it gets to be 120 degrees in the summer, that’s just not sane…to be out playing sports in that kind of weather.  And I hate to think how much money it costs to keep all these golf courses green in the middle of a desert….

Like I said, it’s just not natural….

Phoenix is a totally artificial environment.  Most East Coast cities grew up around rivers or transportation routes.  Phoenix only really took off with air conditioning and the airport.  It’s a new place.

That may be why I hate it.  It’s totally new.  It’s all Big Box stores and chain restaurants.  It is based on the worst of homogenized American Culture.

I’ve been coming to Phoenix for 15 years.  I’ve seen it grow and evolve.  And not for the good….

I don’t see any Native American influence left- outside the gift stores.

The parts that were unique and mindful of the “old west”, when I first started coming here,  have disappeared and been replaced by Olive Gardens, Wal-Mart, Targets and bankrupt housing developments.

Sure, this homogenization happens back east, but not to this extent.  We still have the old homes and natural greenery.  Back east makes sense to me.  We could live and have lived without air conditioning.  It’s not pleasant, but it’s survivable.  Most of our older houses are built for the air to move and flow.  The moisture- also known as humidity- also helps.

Say what you will about Phoenix’s “dry” heat, to me that is not a benefit.  My contact lenses want to pop out of my eyes, I go through gallons of moisturizer, my sinuses feel like they are full of sand and I cannot consume enough water while I’m here.

If air conditioning suddenly failed in Phoenix in August, I bet hundreds of thousands of people would die within hours.  The air conditioning is so necessary that it creates bubbles where life is somewhat sustainable.  It also isolates people.

I’m convinced that is why there are so many Republicans in Arizona.  They sit in their houses in their air conditioning and don’t interact with people outside their air-conditioned bubbles at home and at work.  Admittedly, it can be the same in the deep South–any where that is air conditioning dependent.  Mississippi is as foreign to me as Arizona…

When people have to interact and share experiences, they get to know people unlike themselves.  They get to know how other people live.  They have to deal with diversity.

That’s what I love about New York and the big East Coast cities.  You can’t avoid interacting with people in the streets, in the subways, in the stores, in both the heat and the cold.  This kind of social interaction can’t help but make one both a Democrat and a democrat.

We can’t pass judgement so coldly on people we have to work with to negotiate the intricacies of daily life in an East Coast city.  They are not just concepts, they are real.  We can’t avoid people unlike ourselves as easily as they can in Phoenix.

You also have to drive everywhere in Phoenix.  On freeways.  I think it should be illegal for a city to have over a million people and not have decent mass transportation.  That’s another reason Phoenicians don’t interact.  If they aren’t in their home or office, they are in their car.

They are isolated.

I’ve noticed over the years that very few people from the East Coast and even fewer from the South like Phoenix. We’ve talked about it among ourselves.

When I talk to people who live in Phoenix and like it, they are usually from the mid-west or West.  It’s just too culturally and climatically different for those of us from the East Coast and the upper South.

And it’s not green.  Except for the Golf Courses.  It’s brown and rocky and rough.  It’s not lush and fragrant.  It’s dusty…

That’s just not natural to me…

I’m not a parochial person.  I’ve been many places I and thought “I could live here”.  Well, mainly, New York, Paris and London, but I’ve had that thought in other places as well.

I’ve never felt that way about Phoenix…

To me it’s just one big Mall sitting beside a Golf Course where people can only survive in air-conditioned bubbles.

I can’t imagine living that way…

I wish my friends in Phoenix the best.  I apologize for my harsh words.  But that is how I see it.

Nature meant Phoenix to be a small out post in the desert- not a mega city.  You can only go against nature for so long without it effecting you.

I think native-born Phoenicians have some sort of genetic code that makes it work for them- much like Southerners have a genetic code that makes them understand the madness of the South.

It’s those who chose to move Phoenix from someplace else that I worry about…It would be interesting to see how this all works out over time.

The resources needed to make Phoenix possible, as it is today, are limited…

Something tells me, nature just won’t be able to sustain all these golf courses forever….

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2 Responses to By the Time I Get To Phoenix

  1. Pingback: Chapter 53: By the Time I Get To Phoenix | My Southern Gothic Life | Lost in the 21st Century

  2. lynda says:

    I so agree about Phoenix the city and all the gated communities. But I drove just 20 minutes into the mountains into an amazing spiritual landscape. If you can live WITH the mountains and the desert, they will reveal their secrets and mysteries!

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