Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Day in Tucson


Tucson, Arizona. I first arrived in Tucson in December of 1982 for a job interview. I stayed at the Holidome on Palo Verde and allowed an extra day to check out the town. Not surprisingly, the University of Arizona and the shops immediately to its west caught my attention. I will remember forever the chat with a Zip’s music store employee about the university, the town, and what it was like to live here.

Eager for the well paying engineering position and living near mountains, I ignored the concerns raised by a downtown that felt like a morgue. It was deader than dead, silent and deserted. I told myself the fun occurred at the pubs and nightclubs to the east and north. That was 26 years ago. I don’t know if Club Congress existed in 1982, but if so I missed it. I knew what it was like at night in downtown Cincinnati, and whether one chose Fountain Square (or my favorite, the Serpentine Wall on the bank of the Ohio River), life was aplenty. I have fond memories of romantic adventures on that wall, especially Donna. Oh, Donna.

After moving to Tucson in 1983, I may have gone downtown five times in the next fifteen years, even though I lived for quite awhile at Fourth Street and Second Avenue. What reason was there to venture south of Ninth Street’s The Shanty? I joined the 4th Ave Food Co-op when joining meant a few hours of volunteer work every week. The street fairs back then felt far more like parties of music, dancing, and food. Some vendors had booths with items for sale, but nothing like the shopping orgies held today. I haven't been to the street fair this century.

Remember when we had REAL monsoons where you wonder if the rain will collapse your roof or blow out your windows? Remember the October 1983 flood and the summer of 1984 monsoons? In the summer of 1984, around 4 PM, find a bomb shelter. The afternoon commute could produce stories rivaling those of veterans, "And then I realized I was totally hydroplaning at 70 mph as the freeway entered the curve under the bridge!"

I will miss the desert, the mountains, the terrain, and the priceless nighttime motorcycle rides to the west. Some time ago, taking an 1100cc cruiser over Gates Pass and out towards the Desert Museum and beyond, flying across the desert and feeling the sharp temperature changes with the plunges into the washes, was an experience not to be forgotten. Ever been in the parched desert at the very beginning of a good rain, when the first kiss of moisture produces that unique smell? Know the smell I'm talking about? It's best far from town, and remember to listen to the extraordinary sounds the desert makes as it starts to drink.



I will not miss the Cloth, the greedy self-serving suits that destroy what they do not understand and squander fortunes in public funds on their mutual stuff-fests, accomplishing nothing for the taxpayers forced to fund them. What is sad is that we will never know what the town might have become if it had city leadership that served the community, not a small clique of naked emperors worshiping their acronyms and inflated salaries. What they get paid to do what is astonishing. I think Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jim Waring, in a discussion of Rio Nuevo in Phoenix, summed it up succinctly, "You spent nine million dollars and didn't build anything."

Best of luck to the educators and school officials struggling against the adversity education faces in Arizona. My adviser, a truly gifted individual and a tenured professor, also departs eastward for another university this summer.

My Road Trip begins Friday morning. The key stops along the way:

Albuquerque (Susan)
Wichita (Thalia)
St. Louis (Cynthia)
Final Destination (TBA)

Apparently the folks at Arizona 8th will entertain all sorts of notions regarding the women above. Go for it. I knew about the ludicrous 1998 made for TV film loosely based on Aldous Huxley's famous Brave New World, but it never occurred to me that some people actually watched it.

Some have asked about the new position, and I'll respond when I think it's appropriate. Of course the blog will continue. I don't want to miss the story when Hecker takes over The Tucson Girl's Chorus or Snell steals the funding intended for a domestic violence shelter.

13 Comments:

Blogger DRP said...

Sorry to see you go.

5/28/2009 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I'm anonymous, you can't lower your opinion of me for having watched the Brave New World movie that starred Leonard Nimoy. It's cast actually featured some actors that are quite well known today.

Yeah, the film is really bad. I have always wondered about the insane notion that the left is more promiscuous than the right. It's complete BS. In the film, the government actively promotes promiscuity, and the notion of commitment and family is discouraged.

Conservatives seem genuinely afraid that the left is out to change how they live their lives. The reality is that the left wants the those on the right to stop telling them how to live theirs.

Can you imagine a government telling its population to be promiscuous? That's as crazy as telling people which gender they should prefer. Oh, uhh.

Good luck on your trip and with your new position.

5/28/2009 8:46 PM  
Blogger Art Jacobson said...

Have a fine trip and a good life. Keep blogging--you'll be interesting, wherever you are.

And why not...you clearly had too much alcohol in your blood surrogate!

My motto is: A gram is worth a damn!

Art

5/28/2009 9:06 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

I knew this post was coming, but was in a bit of denial. I'm most glad you say the blog will continue, but in your new digs around (so it appears likely) great people with the Cloth thousands of miles away, I can't help wondering how your interests will change.

Your growth is off the charts extraordinary. I hope it doesn't take you away from blogging.

I saw that post over at Arizona Eighth first attacking Giffords and then going after you. When he said your post about Let the Right One In was about adolescent sex, I shook my head, "What?"

I think his statement follows more from ignorance (he obviously has no idea) than deliberately misrepresenting what was in actuality nothing but a review of a film, which he probably doesn't realize is a regular feature of this blog.

I hope you have the chance to blog along the way as you trek east. It's killing me that I cannot remember the name, but there is a killer French restaurant in Old Town in Albuquerque. Small and shockingly affordable, the food is FANTASTIC!

"Susan" might know about it. You two could have sex in the shower afterwards. Oh, wait. Conservatives banned sex in the shower after studies showed it could lead to dancing.

Drive safe. Don't speed through the coyote corridor.

5/28/2009 10:08 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Anon,
The government promotion of promiscuity is true to Huxley's novel, as is its hostility to the notion of pregnancy and family. What is important to understand is the timing. When Huxley wrote the novel, communism was rising, not falling, and believe it or not (and conservatives may not get this), Huxley was criticizing the consumerism of the USA more than anything else.

To really understand Huxley's novel, although simplified, consider the lighter but every bit as powerful (for the astute) dystopia presented in the extraordinary film WallE on its flagship the Axiom, where unbridled consumption has made everyone so obese, homogenous, and dormant that promiscuity left the building a long time ago. They can't even walk.

Nav,
I actually think YOU are to blame for Ryan's tirade at AZ Eighth. My film review was quite benign and clearly not material suited to his attention. He probably scanned it briefly and didn't bother to click on my also benign IMDB links to the other films.

Then YOUR COMMENT, the very first, goes into the films, and in particular, features links to far less benign youtube footage of content. Worse (I suppose), you linked to an extended and sizzling presentation of The Cement Garden that probably gave poor Ryan a rash after studying it 384 times in preparation for his blog post. Imagine if the footage made it clear to the guy that the two were brother and sister.

5/28/2009 11:43 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

I knew this was coming, but I guess I expected a little bit longer lead time on the actual departure date. Oh well.

I was hoping for one more get-together at the dive bar with the cheap American draught beers.

Like Navigator, I am somewhat dubious that you will maintain an interest in Tucson, so we should be thankful for whatever time we still have, with you still thinking about our oversized burg.

You will be on some hilltop in Appalachia or somewhere east of the Mississippi, glad that you are away from this mess, having made new friends, and doubtless growing in awareness of the issues of concern to your new neighbors and your new town or city (I try to avoid using the term "community", lest I be mistaken for Cloth). Gradually your interest in Tucson's self-induced problems will wane.

Ride and have fun.

5/29/2009 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Best wishes, Matt. We shall miss you here in the Old Pueblo!

5/29/2009 9:04 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

I've lived in six different US cities for extended periods of time and none were all bad or all good. It is interesting, however, that on those days before leaving that you mostly remember the good things.

Nice reminiscing, X4mr.

There have been times when I thought about people I knew who stayed in the hometown, close to family, and just made a life there. There is something to be said for growing up with a place, accepting the place for what it is, and having a home. I suppose there is also something to be said for adopting a city and making a life there with no intention of living anywhere else.

Those of us who do neither seem destined to live with longing for the places we have been. That is because what you remember is downtown Cincinnati at night, a good rain in a parched desert, and a motorcycle ride through the mountains. You tend to distance yourself from the board meeting where they were going to fire you. For most of us, our selective memories seem to save us from tormenting ourselves. Whatever happened to us is eventually overtaken by the longing for the places, the people we liked, and all of the optimism and hope from an earlier time of life.

But reminiscing aside, your story is really quite extraordinary, X4mr, because it has become one of personal triumph. Recognition will soon follow, I’m quite sure.

Drive safely and enjoy your trip across America.

5/29/2009 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Very insightful comment, Liza.

By now x4mr is probably in Albuquerque and unlikely to return to Arizona anytime soon.

I do know the remarkable smell of the desert at the first touch of rain. I assume you have also seen the full moon rise over the mountains from a remote desert location. You are spot on about the sounds. What may at first seem silent isn't silent at all, especially at night.

I am sure you remember that moon light hike where you came within inches of a rattle snake. Your life really is quite an interesting story. I certainly don't know anyone like you.

Best wishes for a safe trip.

When you have time, some good GOP bashing would be delightful. I assume you heard what the wackos are saying about Sotomayer.

5/29/2009 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So x4mr and Robish were meeting in a dive bar with cheap American draught beer?

I can just imagine that, the two of them sitting in a dark booth with brewskies and sharing insider Cloth and other scoop. Maybe Travis and Policon joined them.

Navigator probably had martinis.

5/30/2009 8:34 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Greetings from Corrales, New Mexico, an exquisite town NW of Albuquerque with fabulous eateries, quaint shops, and brutal enforcement of speed limits.

Welcome to Corrales
Drive Slow, See Our Village.
Drive Fast, See Our Judge.

Tonight on Susan's marvelous porch overlooking the Sandia mountains, I enjoyed a VSG Sorceror after some fajitas.

Now having left AZ, I'll acknowledge that interesting conversations did occur at Anthony's Cigar Emporium (Grant & Swan) and the dive referred to by Robish, Bambi's at Rosemont and Speedway.

Bambi's is a rubber on road salt of the earth cloth free environment perfect for having conversations not to be overheard, the antithesis of Sullivan's.

Tomorrow, Kansas.

5/30/2009 10:21 PM  
Blogger Touchdown said...

enjoy your next chapter.

ThinkRight

6/02/2009 8:12 AM  
Blogger Sunshinesuperman said...

Matt,
I enjoyed our one and only meeting,and the kindred soul fellowship it brought. You have done well faithful and loyal servant! Loyal to the truth and the 'sunum bonum'. Blessings and good karma will follow you.
I pray such good fortune will follow the droves of other professionals who are leaving Tucson. It is sad. The Tucson Cloth are clueless.

6/22/2009 11:20 PM  

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