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:
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.