Guest Commentary

A love-hate relationship with Tucson

Some of the out-of-towners I've encountered are puzzled by my relationship with Tucson. One moment in the conversation I'm urging them to stay away from Tucson: Tucson is a bitch! When I'm having a bad day, and I just want to relax, Tucson decides to become 110 degrees just to make me uncomfortable. Or like that one time when I was 15 years old walking from the 7-Eleven to my house, Tucson decided to give me heat stroke.

And the time when I was 22, and I was getting ready to hang out with some friends. I was looking so hot that day. I had my hair done all nice, I had on this cute black v-neck blouse and cute pair of jeans. I even had on eyeliner and lipstick, and I don't even like makeup. I could have sworn that Tucson was jealous that day because I didn't want to sit out and enjoy the far-away scenery of the Catalina Mountains or the lizards crawling on the porch, or even those loud annoying planes flying over my house. Instead, I wanted to go with my friends and hopefully see some cute guys.

But what happens, Tucson decides that "Hey, it's August, it's a billion degrees out here, I should bring in some rain." So I was standing outside the movie theater talking to this cute guy when it started to rain. That cute black v-neck blouse was soaked and clinging to my chest and showing a little more of my womanhood than I cared to show. My jeans were so soaked that when I walked they made a suspicious noise that made people point and laugh. My makeup was running down my face; it made a little kid scream. And my hair--well, let me just say that rain is a black girl's kryptonite. My hair went from smooth and flowy,to puffy and creepy.

And Tucson can be unfair. I really want an aquarium, more diverse cafés and even an amusement park, but Tucson says, "It's way too expensive and it will bring visitors that will make it too noisy and crowded." So I say, "I'm leaving, then; I'm going to move to Seattle or San Francisco." But Tucson says, "If you don't like it here, leave. Besides, you're not going anywhere anyway; most of your family lives here."

While I'm telling all this to some black lady from New York, Tucson starts acting nice all of a sudden. Tucson was cool today, not hot-tempered at all. Tucson was quiet, not rude. Tucson is negotiating plans to make itself better. And Tucson has not once raised its hand with rage and violence today. So the lady from New York says, "Well, Tucson doesn't seem that bad to me."

Of course at this point I'm seeing right through Tucson because I know Tucson like the back of my hand. But I let the lady know that Tucson has also been good to me. Like nothing beats riding up to the San Xavier mission while blasting some Heart or Led Zeppelin on the radio. And watching Tucson paint me this beautiful sunset with colors like blue, orange, purple and even a hint of red. Or when Tucson cooks for me. Tucson makes one mean burrito. When Tucson showers, I love hearing the wind. It's as if Tucson is humming a cool tune. And when the palm trees sway from side to side, it's as if Tucson is washing its long, lovely hair.

And whatever Tucson is using to clean itself, smells awesome. It's kind of a wet-wood smell. It makes me feel so relaxed. And when Tucson is drying off, it just glows with a sexy radiance. I love it when Tucson is just itself, like downtown; how fun, lively, open-minded and old-fashioned Tucson is, when it's not changing for anybody. Tucson is always there for me and my family. There have been times when we were on our last thread, and somehow Tucson would pull through for us with such hospitality and warmth.

"Wow!" the lady from New York says. "It seems like Tucson loves you, girl!"

"Yeah, I guess I love it, too."

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