I love my neighborhood. I live about 10 minutes from downtown Phoenix. Rideshares are super cheap, but unfortunately, public transit is not an option since I don’t live off the lightrail. That’s been my norm my whole life, and it’s okay.
I’ve lived in Encanto since 2015, and I still meet people who turn their noses up at the fact that I live off 19th avenue. I used to work in North Scottsdale, and a prissy coworker accused me of living in the crime-ridden westside.
Working in North Scottsdale was a trip. I saw Maseratis and Teslas daily. I loved going out to lunch because I’d sit and people watch trophy wives gossiping to their yoga buddies while I scarfed down a whole pizza. One time, I saw a certain young man who once made headlines for his revenge porn empire, then started a ride share service, and ran for congress. I won’t mention his name, because I’ll probably receive a ton of harassment and I ain’t about that.
My city is wild.
I write this on an early Sunday afternoon after photographing the UFO Congress. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think the universe is too large to absolutely say that intelligent life doesn’t exist. I love aliens as a pop culture phenomenon.
At the con, I saw tons of vendors selling crystals, psychic readings, and smudge wands. I’m really into metaphysical witchy shit, which made realize that UFOs aren’t too far off from my loosely held beliefs. My grandma insists that she was abducted by aliens and wasn’t born on earth. It begs the question- is she in the know, or is she just schizophrenic?
Am I great at tapping into psychic energy through tarot cards, or am I just a naive ex-Catholic who wants to believe in something?
After I wrapped up my shoot, I had lunch at Vegan House and got a coffee. I peered out the window and saw lots of beautiful people who looked like they could be Instagram models.
We live in Lizzo’s America. Everyone is beautiful, and everyone should celebrate it. I’m grateful that I’m able to recognize a little beauty in everyone.
Meth is a huge problem in Phoenix. I learned a lot about it from a friend who I met from the nightlife scene. He had been to rehab a few times. I asked him what it was like. I posed the same question to my friends who had past coke benders. On yayo- “It’s the greatest feeling ever.”
On meth? He knew I had ADHD and have been prescribed amphetamine-based meds. He said it was like taking Adderall times 10. I imagined people being super hyper and stoked and wanting to get things done. I thought about the times I’ve very passionately spoken about a topic early in the morning to friends who aren’t on my level. I usually get a wide eyed reaction. Another friend once said “you’re a lot.”
I’ve never done meth, and I don’t intend on trying it on purpose. But whenever I see a too skinny weathered person wandering around downtown who seems pretty out of it, I imagine them living it up with my friend’s description. Their madness makes a bit more sense. Most people I see in my day to day appear to be in their own little world and truly aren’t hurting anyone.
Last night, I was in a drive thru after working at The Van Buren. I watched a guy hop a short fence, then talk to the lady in front of me in the drive thru line. He wandered off and was having a very involved conversation with some unseen forces on the street. As I picked up my order, he asked the clerk for sauce. The clerk adamantly told him that he couldn’t be in the drive thru lane.
I definitely understand stranger danger, but I implore you all to take a moment to observe. Yes, you should always be on your guard, but watch people and see what they’re up to.
I used to see a similar cast of weirdos all throughout town. I’m guessing that many of them have been pushed out with gentrification and NIMBY folks who are trigger happy about calling the police.
I’m not any better. I’m a white kid who was raised in the suburbs. I learned to call 911 any time something scary was happening. Today, I know better. Today, I know that 911 call could ruin a person of color’s life.
I’m grateful to live in a neighborhood that still has its unique charm. My house was built in 1941 and I know I’m never going to find another spot that’s in such a great location for a great price. I know this isn’t sustainable, since I’m sure a day will come where I’m priced out.
While I was waitressing, a coworker told me that her and her boyfriend paid something like $1500/month for a one bedroom apartment in Roosevelt. That’s absurd to me, but I’d be naive to ignore it. New condos are popping up everywhere.
That’s all for now. I’m going to make a point to post more. I’m excited to see how this blog comes together with more time and practice.
My Facebook hiatus is going well. It’s been about 3 weeks now, and I feel like the one on one conversations I’ve had with friends offline have been so much more meaningful.
I enabled comments on my blog, so feel free to chime in.