Because my love had a gig in Phoenix, we hied it outta tow last Friday after Adam’s graduation. The temperature in Santa Monica when we left was 80 F. We landed in Phoenix at 9:30 p.m, and the captain blandly announced that the wind was six miles per there, and the temperature was 100. The landing was strange. I had the distinct impression that the plane, like a man on third running out a bunt to home, slid in. Upon the end of the slide, when the plane seemed normal again, the woman next to me turned and told me that she was always coming into Phoenix in the summer, and the planes always wobbled when they came in – hit by thermals, she thought. Then we speculated about the odd cracking noises the plane made. Unfortunately, I had spent the brief trip reading a thriller I picked up, which contained an elaborate airline crash scene. Talk about killing your paperback sales at Hudson News! I’m not a superstitious guy, but I did lay that book aside.
We deplaned, went outside, and the inevitable oven comparison ensued. I have a better comparison, built upon a famous passage in one of Harold Brodkey’s short stories. To describe the impression of beauty given by some woman, he wrote that to see her cross the Harvard Quad was to see Marxism die. On those lines, to step outside the Phoenix airport last Friday night and wait around for a taxi was to feel the Holocene die. Although one could argue that the Holocene was never very kindly to the Southwest to begin with, what with the drought cycle and the disappearance of Anasazi culture.
So we got our cab, or Uber, really (I apologize to all for participating in maintaining that cursed company) and we were driven to the Scottdale Plaza Resort, where we had booked a bungalow, by a sixty-ish woman who divided her time between driving for Uber and taking care of her two grandchildren, angels of 1 and 2 ½ (she dropped a hint that her son-in-law was currently looking for work), and she gifted us with her advice about how to spend the day in Phoenix. Basically, you can stay out to 10 a.m., then lock the kids up in shadows and air conditioning until 10 p.m., by which time they are asleep anyway. I would be alarmed if my environment was forcing me to spend summers like this, but she seemed very boosterish of Phoenix. She even found something civic achievement worthy in the fact that next Tuesday – which is now tomorrow – it was predicted to be a scorcher on the order of 120F. I could hardly believe my ears.
Then she dropped us off, giving us plenty to think about.
The next day, early, my love left for her gig, and Adam and I slept until 10. 10! I remembered the warning from our Uber driver. Nevertheless, we ventured out, tenderfleshed, and found the central resort center, which offered a modicum of breakfast: wooden waffles, scrambled eggs that were fresh hours ago, and the usual bad coffee. We had cereal. Then we searched around for sun blocks. I bought the children’s 50 and 70, and an adult 50 for myself. Back in our bungalow, I slathered Adam with cream, did the same to myself, put my hat on top of Adam’s head, found our sunglasses, and thus armed, we went out to the swimming pool. The climax of this story is not that we suffered 3rd degree burns, but that you can swim in 107 F sunlight if you stop to slop bunches of sun block on yourselves every ten minutes. After an hour of frolicking, we returned to the shadows of the bungalow and waited for Phaeton to drive his chariot through the azure Arizona air for a while. Then we… did stuff. Vacation, you know. Here narration ends, and dissemination begins, since the two days of vacation we took expired without any narrative anchoring points that went beyond what you’d get in a snap shot. The grocery store for floaties, junk food, and beer. The covey of young women at the grocery store, all clothed in hot pink tee shirts that read “Bride Tribe”, foraging in the liquor section. Adam’s first water squirter, which gained immediate love and affection. Breakfast. More swimming. A gratifying absence of sun burn due to the hyper gobs of sun block. The wonder of parents at the pool allowing their two and a half year old to sit under the sun as it delivered terrific luminous jolts. The restaurant we went to, The Blue Adobe, that served real Santa Fe Carne Adovada. Highly recommended. The giant jar of margarita, which came with an open bottle of Corona stuck in it at a jaunty angle. Excellent. The awarding of a jar of similar build, with the logo of the place on it, to yours truly after finishing said drink. Unnecessary. The ride back to the resort. Drunken.
Ah, and then one last touch. American airlines startled us with a message that they couldn’t guarantee the safety of afternoon flights today, so we had to change our flight to one at 10 in the morning – that magic hour. The heat today was supposed to peak at 117 F.
Yes, its like seeing the Holocene die. Quite the weekend getaway.