Anyone who knows me, and certainly anyone who reads this blog, knows I have a Masters Degree in Irreverence with a minor in Calling Out Hypocrisy and Nonsense. I just can’t help it. It’s like what I told my brother-in-law the other night – Once I see it , I can’t Un-see it. No one is safe from scrutiny – not even me. And Scottsdale, AZ is a veritable cornucopia of contradictions.
But Scottsdale has them beat hands down in the ‘The Best Things are Only Skin Deep’ Category of puddle-deep culture. And Winter is Scottsdale’s time to shine. It’s not the retired snow-birds from up north. No. This time of year all the money shows up and those with not just second homes, but second jets, are in residence in all their tacky regalia. Wearing their McClarens, Ferraris, Lambos and the like as though they’re winter coats for the rest of the world. They don’t bother to drive them to AZ (you don’t put those kinds of miles on these cars) or leave them here in a climate controlled garage at their faux desert oasis/chateaux. No – they fly them in on their private 737’s to the Scottsdale Airport to be offloaded by companies who specialize in catering to the likes of the very rich, and the very famous. They’re all here. World Champion Boxes, Oil Sheiks, ball players of one stripe of another.
And the proof is in the Money doesn’t buy Taste approach. I call it ‘Flashy Trashy’. Everything is this years model, And over the top ridiculous get-ups whether it’s Gucci, Prada or Lear, and last year is tossed in the bin in the rear-view mirror. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve traveled on many a private jet. And we have friends who just took delivery of a new luxury aircraft that is a sweet ride. They’re lovely people. But with the climate crisis being what it is I’m not sure flying private is the right thing to do for your fellow man. But then I’m not making that trade off this year.
The Valley of the Sun is the fakest of places. No human was ever meant to reside here for all the months of the year. There isn’t enough water and a great many things here will kill you. Animals, bugs, vegetation – the sun. It’s an inhospitable place. So the people here have adopted the attitude of their surroundings. Every morning you wake up and on the tv they’ll inform you that more than one person has died in a collision from going the wrong way on the freeway. Or flipped their car on to it’s roof on a city street. Just how fast do you have to be going to do that? You see it all the time. Why? I think the environment just makes them crazy.
This state has more guns than people. And that’s no joke. We were driving yesterday and I honked at someone who was doing something stupid in front of me. Jeff freaked out.
‘Uh – remember where we are. They’ll shoot us as soon as look at us for honking. And we are in a Prius. The anti-Arizona car. Everyone here is packing.’
And he should know – a guy pulled a gun on him on the freeway a few years back while he was riding his motorcycle to work down the i17. He thinks only his Veteran’s license plate with an American flag saved him.
And if you discuss guns with anyone here they’ll tell you it’s their ‘God-given right.’ Like guns are in the Bible or George Washington was the American Jesus. They loudly advocate that more people should have guns so we’d all feel safer. If you want to see Jeff lose his mimd bring up guns. He will recite chapter and verse on why the EU got it right on gun ownership. But for people who claim to feel safer because they’re ‘packing heat’, I have never seen so many ‘Emotional Support’ animals boarding flights than we did at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. If they feel so safe why all the Yorkie’s, miniature Vietnamese pigs, and Persian cats in little carriers? Shouldn’t they have cheetahs or lions sitting at their feet at 30k feet ready to pounce on fellow passengers that made them feel unsafe?
On a more positive note- I’ve noticed something else I didn’t realize was at my disposal when we lived here. Spanish radio stations. When we got the rental car I started searching for music – I couldn’t remember what stations I used to listen to. Then I came upon Latino Mix 100.3 and I’ve been listening to it ever since. I’m used to being surrounded by Spanish and surprisingly, it makes me feel like home. Even though it’s not the same accent and some of the words are different. And I’ve surprised myself. I understand nearly all of what they’re saying. Even the hastily recited legal disclaimers for prescriptions and contest rules
Yesterday afternoon, I was listening to the afternoon drive time. The DJ came on and she was speaking Spanish, but periodically it seemed there were limits to her language skills and she filled it in with English – I say English and not Ingles because it was accent free and she sound just like me hacking together a sentence. So I’m making sure my brain doesn’t atrophy on being tuned to Espanol.
To be fair, there is real beauty here. The views this time of year are lovely and the hot air balloons are out in the mornings flying over the Sonoran Desert and the Saguaro cactus . The sunsets are world class and on our way to our friend’s house across the Desert we audibly gasp at the colors. So while we’re here we’ll focus on the beauty and friendship. No matter where we live in the world that’s all we really need.