Coffee heat rising

Life in the ‘Hood: Stay or Flee?

Summer storms blowing in, along with a few gangsters and fruitcakes…

Didn’t notice this exchange on the neighborhood Facebook page yesterday evening:


Police website…
7:25 p.m.
August 13
Report of Shots Fired
North Feeder Street NW and West Feeder Street EW
[Map with dramatic visuals…
[This is one block from my house]
GV(Neighbor): I am at 18th and Feeder E/W, didn’t hear anything. Hope everyone is safe!
I can hear a helicopter right now , its circling right down south from my house
Funny: At Side Street and Funny Farm Drive, also heard nothing. Helicopters are hardly noticed, they’re so ubiquitous. Any news on what this shenanigan entailed?

….a-n-n-n-d…nary another word.

Could’ve been firecrackers, I reckon. We have a lot of nitwits around here who like to set off fireworks, which, annoyingly enough, are legal to sell anywhere in the county. I would’ve been swimming at that hour. Still would have been way too hot for an evening doggy-walk. As a practical matter, I don’t recall if we went out last night at all. But if we did, it wouldn’t have been until 9 or 10 p.m. By then it was raining, though.


Now as evening ambles in, we have a little melodramatic wind (not enough to do much damage, that I can see) and a sky full of dark gray and dimly white clouds that started out as thunderheads but now are pretty well shredded and turned into high overcast. If it rains tonight, my bet is that it won’t be much.

What a place! Why do I stay here?

Probably because there’s really no place much better, at least not that I can afford. In Paradise Valley, entire neighborhoods are fenced and gated off, with private security guards roaming the streets 24/7. Ain’t that reassuring for the rich and the tasteless?

Fountain Hills is probably quieter, but it’s as far east as you can get in the Valley, halfway to freakin’ Payson. Personally, I don’t find it inviting. Most of the houses are cheaply built — stick and styrofoam, tracty-looking. The place is lily-white and IMHO devoid of character. It’s a long way from shopping and even further from the folks I know.

Sun City is calm: haunted by the peace of the mortuary. It’s not entirely free of crime — some fairly eye-popping shockers have occurred out there. And those houses, too, are cheaply built tract numbers: better construction than Fountain Hills (most of the S.C. homes are built of block) but devoid of insulation. People who choose to stay there over the summer will fir out the exterior walls, lay on insulation, and then plaster over the top of it. So you get the effect of a typical stick-and-styrofoam tract house, only the structure has in effect two walls: one of cinderbock and one of styrofoam-backed plaster. To my mind, it’s a depressing place to live, made even more so by the fact that my poor mother died there after my father retired and dragged her out to the Arizona desert.

I’m fairly sure she expected to retire to Southern California — Long Beach or points south. She wanted to be in the Bay Area, but the cost of living there was well out of the question. Betcha she about fainted when my father stumbled upon Del Webb’s ghetto for old folks. 😀

Actually, I believe she liked Sun City. One time she remarked to me how much she loved the screened back patio where she could sit all morning over coffee and listen to the doves and quail hooting. It really was very, very quiet out there.

Heh. While yeah, I could do without the helicopter, siren, and lightrail serenade from Conduit of Blight Blvd and Gangbanger’s Way, I’m afraid I like the sound of children playing and teenagers carrying on.

Truth to tell, if my son were not here, I very likely would be long gone.


Well, some friends have moved to Utah, the Provo area. But I feel no desire to live there. Another friend: gone to Portland. Brrrrrr!

Santa Fe is extremely cool (culturally, that is), but from what others have told me, its ambience isn’t a helluva lot safer than the Hood’s. Don’t know anyone there. Can’t work up a lot of enthusiasm for decamping to someplace where I’d have to build a whole new life.

Prescott is nice. I do like Prescott. But…. It snows in the winter. Gets hot enough to need air-conditioning in the summer. And the gringos have discovered it, big time: hordes of immigrants from the Valley and from California have flooded into the place. Hence: out of the frying pan…

View from the Mogollon Rim near Payson

Mr. & Mrs. Fireman sold their manse in the West Valley and moved up to Payson, where they bought a truly beautiful home on a nice expanse of forested land. They seem to like it there very much. Main problem: not enough infrastructure. They have to drive into town for shopping, and even to take the dog to a vet.

In Tucson, there’s an area called Oro Valley, spreading northward along the west flank of the Catalina Mountains. It’s very pleasant. And it has the advantage of being close to a major medical center, to a fairly arty city with a large, established university (cultural life!!!), to shopping, and to a major regional airport. I suppose if I were going to decamp to someplace where I don’t know anybody and where I’d have to build a whole new lifestyle, that would be the foremost candidate.

Ohhh well…. Long as I’m livin’ in a freestanding house on a quarter-acre of land with a pool, I reckon I might as well be swimming in that pool. And so, awayyy!