Sunny, cool (10-15C), clean and spacious. Cactus. Flat. No Maga hats yet. Cars, cars, cars. Gasoline (from Canada) at $2.69 US a gallon. First impression: it’s growing. More buildings. Newer ‘centres’ and malls.
We came in on the airport shuttle with a young Texan who seemed to be ‘real careful’ talkin’ to foreigners – at first – but loosened up. He’s a catfish farmer! Digs holes, fills ’em with water, throws in ‘itty-bitty ones’ and then raises them to adulthood whereupon they are shipped out to other catfish farmer’s regional ‘fattening ponds’ to be custom sized to the regional menu. I guess Arkansanians like their catfish a different size to Georgians and Kentukians. Who knew?
There is a lot more to a catfish than meets the eye it seems.
Guy lived for years on the Arizona-Mexico border. Grew up there. Wants a wall. “No problem for good Mexicans. They good people. But they gotta apply and line up. Wait their turn. Fill out our papers. It’s those rotten Mexicans who are the ones who run across the border and try to get our services and food stamps and welfare. They real good at getting taxpayer’s money. We need a wall to stop them!”
Unlike many who speak that way, he was just a ‘good ol’ boy with little to no REAL animosity except to rule-breakers. This was more of a ‘law-and-order’ guy than a racist. Still, he has never been anywhere except the red-light districts of border towns. “They fun!” His view of life, people, culture, government and the US of A is somewhat limited, albeit colourful.
But…..so is mine…..so we wished him and his cowboy-hat wearing girlfriend (he had pics of her) all the best and departed our shuttle at another airport east of Phoenix. My buddy, S, had left his car there for us. An Escalade. Nice.
I walked around the rather small parking lot and found it. Then found the hidden key and opened it up. I felt as if I should take off my shoes! S is a great and healthy, normal guy who is smart and capable and competent and honest and good. We have mutual love without having mutual characters. I do not measure up to all those standards. But I have always thought of myself as ‘at least’ clean. I am a clean guy. I wash and clean up stuff. Mostly. I am NOT great but I eventually clean up whatever mess I make (if Sal doesn’t get to it first AND hides all the tools she finds).
But I am a pig-dog in mud-slop compared to S. The car was so clean I wondered how he even got it parked there. Surely there must be a hint of road grime somewhere even if he came direct from the car-wash and the OCD surgical detailer! Nope. There was not a speck of dust, not a bit of dirt. The tires were black and shiny with no dirt in the grooves. The floor mats were freshly armor-alled. The car was cleaner than the clinic I volunteer at. I have – I swear – undergone major surgery in dirtier operating rooms. My appendix was removed in a pig-sty compared to this car!
I pulled up to get Sal and the luggage. She opened the passenger side while I put the luggage in the back. I watched as she tapped her shoes on the door-rails to make sure she didn’t trek in any dirt. Unprompted she said, “Oh my God! This car is immaculate!”
“How the hell are we gonna give this car back as nice as we got it? It’s not possible unless we start cleaning now!”
Talk about pressure!
I wrote and complained.
S. wrote back: “Sorry, man. I like to detail. It’s kind of a zen thing. Therapeutic. If you wanna freak, look in the engine bay. It’s crazy clean!”
Arizona will take some adjustment…..