…You can’t get there from here!
That old chestnut simply has to have been written by someone from Phoenix. About Phoenix. What a f*ckin’ zoo this place is!
Having failed to get to yesterday’s West Valley Writer’s Workshop shindig, today I determined to go to a weekly Central Phoenix Writing Workshop, therein — with any luck — to meet some new people and maybe even make some new friends. A guy who shows up at the WVWW events is one of the Central Phoenix organizers, and I thought it would be nice to see him, he being a pretty interesting fella.
It should be a straight shot down Central Avenue. This outfit meets in a hipster coffee house dead center in the renovated downtown.
To give you an idea: During the recession, I considered (in passing) buying a condo within walking distance of this place. They wanted as much as my four-bedroom house costs for 1 tiny living/dining room, 2 “bedrooms” (one would suffice as a small office), and a kitchenette.
But that’s not so much here nor there.
Turn out of a neighboring ‘Hood and head south on Central.
It is slow going.
And then it gets slower.
And then it comes to a dead stop.
WTF? I can’t figure out what the problem is. Must be an accident up ahead.
At Indian School Road, traffic just sits at the light. After awhile, we inch close enough to the intersection that I can see Indian School is closed east of Central. Cop lights are flashing: must be a Wreck from Hell…not an uncommon event in these parts, as you can imagine.
By now it’s quarter to two. The group’s meeting starts at 2:00 p.m. I’m not gonna make it if I stay in this mess. If I veer right and then dart south on Seventh, maybe I can get around the mess. Fortunately, I’m already in the right-hand lane. I nuzzle the car into the right-turn lane, cutting off some poor wretch who has the same idea.
We sit through FOUR SIGNALS before I get to the front of the line to turn right on Indian School.
Westbound traffic is OK.
Turn south on Third, knowing that at Thomas (this being my old stomping grounds) I’ll have to jog west and then south onto Fifth, since those two streets convert to one-way at that point. PITA.
It gets later.
By the time the supercharged Venza reaches Thomas, we’re just a few brief minutes short of two o’clock
At this point, I figure I’ve had about enough of this run-around.
North on Seventh Ave, headed back to Bum Central, way far to the north of these gentrified confines.
Cruising north, back at Indian School I come to this organic market that I’ve always wanted to visit but usually can’t because when I’m northbound on 7th Ave I’m in a ball-busting hurry (yes, I do always run late…why do you ask?) or it’s late at night after some downtown event or I’m evading the Hated I-17 or I have someplace to go on Seventh. None of those eventualities invite one to diddle around in a grocery store.
Dart right out of the middle lane, tromp the brakes, annoy the guy who was flying along in that lane about 10 mph over the limit. (I know, because we were pacing each other.) Whip into the store’s parking lot.
What a freaking blast from the past!
If you are old enough to remember the 1960s and 70s, then you are old enough to remember organic food co-ops.
This place is like an organic food co-op, only clean. Only with pretty damn good-looking produce. What it really makes you think of is a Whole Foods crammed into the space the size of a typical Sprouts.
Remember the allegedly “organic” produce in those 1970s co-ops? Wilted. Brown. Soggy. Looked like it had been picked from somebody’s backyard garden and left to ferment in a warehouse for three weeks? Yeah: you had to be a true believer to buy that pre-garbage.
The produce in this store was FREAKING GORGEOUS! Plump and handsome and happy and calling out to your taste buds: Come to me, come to meeeee!
The clientele? Omigod. You never saw so many aging hippies in your life. And of course health-conscious gay guys. The store is on the edge of the Melrose district, the home of many gay couples. Everyone in the store was visibly having a wonderful time shopping. No irony there: it was clear these people loved it.
And they had hippy-dippy personal products, so many organic combs and brushes and creams and soaps and toothpastes and beard softeners and hair pomades and…the boggle minded.
Naturally I bought a piece of (YES!) unscented Castile soap (couldn’t believe it) and a little pottle of unscented workingman’s hand softener gunk (think udder cream gone to San Francisco). Hallelujah brothers and sisters!
If they’d had some tie-died clothes, you can be sure I’d’ve bought some of that, too.
Raced back home bearing a beautiful, ripe (!!!!) acorn squash, a perfect unblemished yellow onion, and a pound of allegedly organic, allegedly hormone-free, allegedly grass-fed ground meat from the loins of the perfect cow.
Nice. Will I go back? Probably. It was overpriced. Yes: prices outstripped Whole Paycheck even before that honorable store was kidnapped by Amazon. But did it have things I don’t think I can find elsewhere? Yeah. Definitely. I will go back.
Even though you can’t get wherever it is you think you’re going from here, you can get somewhere interesting. 😀