Yesterday, driving around LA, I couldn’t help but notice what a thriving economy looks like: Teslas and jalopies, construction cranes and corporate headquarters, ethnic restaurants and art museums, billboards and wallscapes. LA’s freeways are so numerous locals call them by the numbers. The 10. The 101. The 405. It still takes forever to go five miles, but only because a thriving economy attracts people in droves. Sure it’s more expensive to live in a city like LA – a lot more – but there are also plenty of decent employment opportunities. Then there’s the piece de resistance, that shining Pacific Ocean with its rolling waves and lifeguard towers and surfboards and volleyball nets. From Venice to Manhattan to Hermosa, beach town after beach town called to me, “Oh Brazen One, why don’t you stay here and make me your home?”
I was seriously considering that question as my flight took off from LAX last night, banking 180 degrees over the Pacific to head southeast, leaving the lights of the city of angels behind. An hour and a half later, my car took a right turn out of Tucson International Airport onto Valencia Road and let me tell you, air turbulence has nothing on Valencia. My suspension groaned, “Not again” as we explored every pothole we couldn’t avoid. The streets were practically deserted, every sidewalk rolled up tight. Welcome to Tucson, the city we citizens manage to love and loathe.
- We love that we can drive 15 miles across town in 20 minutes, at 11pm on Sunday.
- We loathe that we don’t pass twelve major corporations along the way.
- We love that we can see stars in the sky, not just the self-serving human variety.
- We loathe that we have to drive to Phoenix to shop at Nordstrom or see a headliner in concert.
- We love that we can raise our kids in a decent, down to earth place.
- We loathe that they can’t make a decent living here when they grow up.
- We love that we can breathe clean air and hike gorgeous trails.
- We loathe that when it comes to politics and the economy, we have to hold our breath.
Yep, for everything great we have in Tucson, there’s something equally great we miss. But you know what? The grass is always greener on the other side, no matter where you live. There’s a good reason I’ve called Tucson home for 37 years. From my vantage point, it’s not even faintly miserable. So pound surf and pass the Margaritas.
Brought to you by: Oh Brazen One