Well, it smelled like rain, it sort of looked like rain the few drops that fell and it was cloudy so I guess this was a rainy day in Phoenix. Who knew it rained on the desert? Reminded me of my first rainfall on ocean which I experience as a child vacationing in Mozambique. Water falling on water seemed preposterous as does rain falling on land meant to be dry. But then a return to a string of sun and 70s and then sun and 80s and next week, sun and 90s. Whomever negotiated this weather contract, great job.
Some of the little things that I have noticed about living on Bell Rd., North Phoenix, a location that was found mostly serendipitously and best explained by Brooke in the complex office, “If it was ever made to be sold, it’s on Bell Road“. Apart from the line of new auto dealerships, which may be handy in years to come, everything shopping and entertaining seems to be within just a few miles. A huge Hawkins Theatre cinema complex, a Super Target, Sam’s Club, a Super Wal-Mart with groceries. Who knew? And their prices! ‘Our Thelma’ would love it here. Whether I turn West or East, it’s shop after shop after restaurant after restaurant after convenient store after convenient store. I guess this is city living but never far from the sight of near and distant mountains and rugged rocky outcrops.
And you notice the huge street name signs large enough for retired eyes to see easily. The turning lanes that are marked double wide white so there is no double which lane you are in whether you can or cannot see an indicating arrow. Every roadway seems to be two lanes at least with a centre turning lane always for those of use nervous about turns.
Promising myself a social life outside of East Coast survival mode, I joined a car club and attended a weekly, Sunday brunch at The Good Egg. Men who like men who like cars. Again, who knew? A chance to meet and chat and show off cars old and new. A 1956 pink Cadillac, a 1947 Rambler, a 1919 Model T Touring car, Tickey of course, and two members that write for the motor press that always have new loaners to test, to indulge, to present and to show off. Welcoming introductions included this conversation …
Member – “Welcome. Where are you from?”
Me – “New Jersey. This is day five in Phoenix“.
Member – “Well, you will find it radically different here”
Me – “Yes, very different, thankfully“.
Member – “Mostly Phoenix is very liberal and the rest of Arizona is mildly conservative, but there is this group of white men that are quite extreme”.
Me – “Ah. I guess we are not talking about the weather, then“.
And the little things that you find yourself doing in this land that was once Mexico. Omelets now ordered with Jalapenos Peppers, salad dressing with Prickly Pear. Scan the radio and settle on a Spanish language station. I have no idea what they are saying, selling, singing, but it seems appropriate and somehow exotic, sexier, warmer, spicier. And observations. What is it about Spanish, male radio announcers who seem to have been preselected for the depth of their baritone? For example, the name El Segundo in English sounds, well, like, simply, “El Segundo”. In Spanish it sounds like, “Eeeeeellll Seguuuuunnnndddooohhh”, long and melodic from the deepest depth of their Castilian manhood. This parallel world from which I am excluded by birth that holds an allure for those of us outwards looking inwards.