Wednesday, September 23, 2009
There will always be a Phoenix.
And getting around is pretty easy, except where the traffic gets really bad. All of the through streets are wide and straight, and the entire Valley of the Sun is a grid of evenly spaced thoroughfares bracketing architecturally cohesive subdivisions, each with its monumental entrance, its water feature, its theme of colours and edificial gewgaws (Cupolas! Niche windows! Pilasters!). And where the population has reached a certain critical mass of density and prosperity, the appearance is one of comfort and order: a sort of riverless Rhineland.
And of course, it's a very, very large city, with a large middle class, so it's full of good restaurants, and probably has a first-rate nightlife, for those who want that sort of thing. There are jobs here, and a sense of opportunity and promise. It may even be a very good place to raise your kids, though I'm not sure what the criteria for that is; honest small-business owners and con artists seem to come from all backgrounds equally.
But driving around the city yesterday, on the way to the vistas of Dobbins Point and South Mountain Park, I felt a certain je ne sais quoi, a feeling that the pleasant and promising aspects of Phoenix are unreal, that this massive sprawl of urbanity and civilization is more than just artificial; that it is an interloper in this desert, that it will eventually move on to places more suited to human habitation (please, God, not South Texas!) and leave behind the crumbling hulk of Spanish tile and concrete, like so many cicadas.
Posted by Curmudgeon Extraordinaire