Monday, February 20, 2017

impressions from the arizona tourist belt

 I never spy anything instructionally pure with my little eye. My eyeball is attached to my prejudices, my experience, the perceptive style that is the endproduct of my personal input (to a very small degree) and my circumstances (both conscious and unconscious). So as we traveled the gamut of Arizona, from on hotel to another (from Great Westerns to Scottsdale and Sedona spa + hotels), I was comparing it to my abstract sense of Arizona as a rockribbed Republican state, the one that rejected MLK Jr. Day, the one with Joe Whatshisname, the Bull Connor of Maricopa County, as its sinister symbol.
It turned out that our brief vacation intersected with the massive retirement belt that goes to Arizona for landscapes and bargains. The contrast with California struck me first. In California hotels and vacation spots, there’s a babel of languages (Russian, Korean, Spanish, French etc.) and the caucasion monoculture is plenty diversy-fied. In Arizona, the monoculture rules. These, I kept thinking, are the faces that voted in President Dipshit. But – re that first graph – I had no way of knowing that. Perhaps, by some anomaly, the happy hour at the Dunbar Hotel in Flagstaff (I’m not going to check out its real name, which was something like Dunbar. But gotta recommentd the happy hour – free kickass Bloody Marys!) attracted HRC voters. I’d double down on doubting that, though. Thing is, the faces I saw were not smug or contented – this ain’t Flaubert’s bourgeoisie. They were puffy and aggrieved, pocky and sour around the mouth. Perhaps I was too – traveling has a way of thinning your glamor, and leaving you with yesterday’s shirt and socks to wear today. Still, I couldn’t help but think, looking at the people of that same socio-economic class gathered together in the Phoenix airport to await the plane to LAX, that our Cali bourgeoisie look happier. We all wear the skin that nature gave us – few of us have botoxed it up – but the skin looks less like it contains some outrage that this is not what we were promised. I usually try to take the side of the aggrieved, of the loser, being a loser myself.  Born a loser, sounding like a loser, resentful like a loser, and wanting, finally, to stuff my loserhood in the mouth of established wealth and make them choke on it. Me! But in the tourist belt, I felt some distance between real circs – I mean, these folks were in a pretty good retirement situation – and grievance.

Perhaps this was just an illusion created by my not so innocent eye. But it left an impression.     

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