In Phoenix

by Bryan

I shoud probably just suck it up and enjoy my four remaining days of vacation instead of blogging, and yet here I am. Blogging on the couch. My brother’s sleeping about five feet away. He’ll read this when he gets the subscriber email. (Note to friends: SIGN UP.) Now his girlfriend is smacking him in the face to wake him up, and his six month old Boston Terrier has parked herself beside me. Now his girlfriend is taking the dog away so they can both take a nap. Now Grant informs me he is taking a nap too, and leaves me with these parting words: “Feel free to go fuck yourself, if you’re interested.” I will have to mull it over.

Las Vegas is in the books, and by Las Vegas, I mean Licensing Show, the annual extravanza of branding which I attend for work. Uh, yay? It wasn’t so bad this year. It was actually kind of good. I would prefer not to admit that, because if I did that I might have to admit my job isn’t all bad. I would have to admit that I saw lots of people I actually like and some I actually respect. I would have to admit that I could, actually, parlay this job into something really interesting and cool and innovative and engaging. I would have to admit that I’m a lot closer to that than I’d ever imagined. And that would be weird. So let’s do the healthy thing and ignore it. IT WILL OBVIOUSLY GO AWAY.

I’m in Phoenix, which is the (hold on) fifth-largest city in the country at this point. I find this hard to believe and easy to believe. My friend Chris pointed out recently that the Southwestern United States has been settled largely thanks to one invention: the air conditioner. When I was flying, first over Vegas and then over Phoenix, I looked down at the little houses and thought of all the little pockets of cool air. Hundreds of thousands of them, lined up side-by-side.

What if the power goes out? What if the water runs out?

Do we think about these things? Probably not. Why? Because it’s the fifth-largest city in the U.S., and power could never go out to the entire fifth-largest city in the U.S. It’s just inconceivable. Someone will make turn on the cold air, or someone will pay. That’s not judgmental or anything. It’s just a fact. And I can grouse about technology all I want, but just because my life largely revolves around early 20th century technology (the subway) doesn’t make me superior to those who rely on newer ones. There were people who thought the subway was bullshit, too.

To put it simply: my knee-jerk antipathy to the southwest, to Vegas, to Phoenix, to places that I didn’t choose to live, is fading. I like a good number of places, many of them more than I like the place I actually live. I used to think that saying something like that was living with a contradiction, but it’s actually just living. I have some things I like perfectly and some things I just like. I like different things about Phoenix and West Tisbury and Brooklyn well enough. I just happen to live in only one of them. I haven’t been home for more than four days in about a month. And you know what? At the moment I don’t much miss it.

This weekend, time with dad, brother, and the city of Phoenix. Trying to figure out, finally, what it’s all about.

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