30 September 2006

Where is This "Other" Phoenix?

I recently had an experience I can only liken to an episode of "The Twilight Zone."

Last night we watched an episode of "We Live Here" that appears on some satellite network called "Fine Living."

This episode was titled "Phoenix," making me think (as I am sure you can understand) that it would be a show about the city where we live: Phoenix (as in "Arizona.") Apparently not.

This show had, as its guests, three people who live in Phoenix.

The first guest, who rides motorcycles, said something to the effect that once you move to Phoenix, you have to have a bike (as in motorcycle), because everyone does. He proceeded to talk about this huge biker culture in Phoenix.

The number of people I know who ride (or even own) a motorcycle is exactly zero.

The second guest took the host to a far distant mountain preserve area for another kind of biking (as in bicycle). She said that this activity is pretty much the reason to come to Phoenix.

While I know a few people who mountain bike, and a couple who hike, this is assuredly not the main reason to visit Phoenix -- at least, not the one in which I live. And, interestingly, this guest did not even suggest sunscreen -- odd, considering how Arizona has more per capita cases of skin cancer than anywhere in the world, excepting the continent of Australia.

The last guest took the host to a Mexican restaurant, stating in almost these exact words, that the official food of Phoenix is Mexican.

Um, the official food of the Phoenix where I live is pretty damn much whatever we want to eat. Yes, we actually have restaurants that feature food from Italy, China, Japan, Thailand, Romania, America (several areas of it), and, oh yes, Mexico. In fact the best Chinese restaurant I have ever been to is a couple miles from my house.

Last in a very long list of annoying things in this show occurred toward the end when the guests were all commenting on the beautiful sunset they were watching. When the host asked what makes the sunset so beautiful, one guest offered some lame explanation about the position of the sun in relation to the mountains and the curve of the Earth.

Okay, the reason Phoenix has such dramatic sunsets is simply pollution. Tons and tons of crap in the air fragment the sunlight scattering colors all over the damn place. Sure, the sunsets are gorgeous, but only if you can stop coughing or sneezing long enough to enjoy them.

Just for the record, the Phoenix metropolitan area where we live (and where we both were born) is pretty much just like any other biggish city in America. Some people ride motorcycles, but the dominant mode of transportation is the automobile (see "Sunsets," above). Some people eat Mexican food, but there are plenty of options. Some people mountain bike, but there are also world-renowned art museums, zoos, a fantastic one-of-a-kind-in-the-world botanical garden, theater, dance, art, sports (I guess), and many other things.

And we have pollution. Lots and lots of it.

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