The Things I’ll Miss in Phoenix

Since I’m soon leaving Phoenix I’ve been thinking about the things I’ll miss the most and the things I won’t. This is what I’ve come up with

Top 5 Things I’ll Miss in Phoenix:

1) The heat

Lucky for me I live in the desert where birds are seen bursting into flames during the summer months, and that’s how I like it. I love the 5 (yes 5) seasons in Phoenix. I love that particular day at the end of summer where you put on pants for the first time and can wear jeans and a t-shirt for the rest of the year until you put shorts back on. I love pool parties and drinking ice cold beer on a blazingly hot summer day under palm trees and a blue sky and I’ll miss the hot summer nights when it feels like the air is hugging you and when it’s 90 degrees and the sun isn’t even out. Sigh… I’ll miss the desert.

2) Hanny’s

All my major life events have been celebrated at Hanny’s since it opened in 2008. I’ve spent at least, and I’m not exaggerating, 30 billions dollars here. I’ll miss walking over to Hanny’s on any given day, I’ll miss writing blog posts and short stories while getting tipsy at the bar (fun fact, I wrote the intro to my book at Hanny’s while sipping Manhattans). I’ll miss the creepy dolls in the basement, I’ll miss the bizarre mannequin woman with doll faces on her butt, and I’ll miss having a place where everybody knows my name.

3) Desert Botanical Garden

This isn’t downtown but I’ll let that slide. The Botanical Gardens is one of my most favorite places on earth. It’s like a big lush, green, calm, zen garden. I take all my out of town friends to the Garden. It’s a gem and reminds me just how unique, fragile, diverse, colorful, fragrant and beautiful the Sonoran Desert is. I was lucky to call the Sonoran Desert home for so many years.

4) My Phoenix Mormon Stories group

I’ve met so many warm, friendly, funny, erudite and truly fascinating people in this group. I have enjoyed their company and learning from them. I have never felt so loved and accepted among “my people” than I did at the Phoenix Mormon Stories conference in February. I’ve enjoyed the book club, the podcast club and every other social event I’ve attended with this group. I will miss this group very much.

5) The people and the potential

I generally get along with people anywhere, but Phoenicians to me are in a special class. Bottom line, you have to be tough to live in Phoenix. You have to endure the heat of the desert and you have to fight prejudice and toxic political policy. I love the resilient, take charge attitude of so many of my downtown friends. I love being around people who see when something is wrong and say, “I’m going to do something about that” and then they do. There are people now who are tapping into the untold potential that exists downtown and I’ll miss being here to watch their efforts change the direction of the city.

Top 5 Things I Won’t Miss in Phoenix:

1) The Heat

I know I said this was one thing I was going to miss and I stand by that. But even I have my limits. Last year it was still hot into November and I cried out, “Enough! It’s time for these 90 degree days to end!” Salt Lake gets hot in the summer, but the weather is already feeling crisp and cool by October.

2) One step forward 2 steps back for downtown development

Why does it have to be so hard to get something right? It seems that for every success, something follows quickly to undo the progress. The Urban Market closed unexpectedly a few months ago and now there is a proposal for a building on Van Buren and 2nd Avenue that is atrocious and violates pretty much every part of the Urban Forum Project with three unactivated sides and a deadzone on Van Buren. As an eternal optimist, however, I see the tide changing for the better with a growing downtown community voice and influence and a genuine excitement about downtown. There are new residential towers going up on Roosevelt and 3rd St, one about to break ground a few blocks away from that project, residential under construction on Filmore and 5th Ave. The word “temporary” has done wonders to transform vacant and underused land, but those projects are only temporary.

3) CityScape

See point 2. Sorry Phoenix, but CityScape sucks. A lot. And we’re stuck with it for years and years and years until they take my advice, blow it up, and start over as I have suggested numerous times. That development is shameful and I hope downtown is never scarred with such an awful project ever again.

4) Outside developers coming to town who promise the moon and the stars and deliver a bucket of pubic hair instead.

See point 3 above. And point 2. See also the Arizona Center and the Colliers Center. None of these projects have “transformed downtown into a 24/7 urban atmosphere” (as is always promised). Developers who make that promise will never be able to make good on it because superblock and megablock projects will never create an urban center. Ever. The projects downtown that have had a lasting and valuable impact are the locally owned, small scale businesses like Hanny’s, Rum Bar, the Duce, Crescent Ballroom, FilmBar, Lola, Fair Trade etc.

I was going to make this a 5 point list but I actually can’t think of another point. That’s how pure my love is for Phoenix!

I wrote this song. It is completely original, no one has ever used words like these with this rhythm or heard anything like it in the history of musicals ever…

Don’t cry for me downtown Phoenix

the truth is I never left you

except this morning

my car is driving

to Salt Lake City

it’s quite a distance.

That song is completely original. No one name named Evita ever sang anything like it.

So what’s the point to all this? The point is I like Phoenix. The End.

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  • Faith
    July 10, 2012

    How funny–one of my best friends just returned to north Texas from Phoenix. She liked some things about it, no doubt, but the heat was just too much to bear.

    And I love your song, that bears no resemblance to anything Andrew Lloyd Weber might have written that was sung by someone named Evita or Peron or anything like that.

    • J. Seth (I go by Seth) Anderson
      July 10, 2012

      I love the heat… the hotter the better. Texas gets pretty hot from what I understand though. You’re right, my song is totally original :)

  • Andy
    July 10, 2012

    When you miss the heat, just drive on down to St. George. We’ve got it, though not quite as intense as Phoenix.

    While you’re down here, I can introduce you to the Arizona Strip, one of the best parts of AZ. Unique, isolated, desolate, beautiful.

    • J. Seth (I go by Seth) Anderson
      July 10, 2012

      I’d love that! The Arizona Strip is actually on my “to see” list and I haven’t been to St. George for years but I remember I liked it a lot when I was there. I wrote a short story for a class one that took place in St George and the main character was a drag queen :)

  • Dean Scott
    July 10, 2012

    Great lyrics – written at Hanny’s?

    • J. Seth (I go by Seth) Anderson
      July 10, 2012

      lol no, but I wish I could say they were. :)

  • Trev
    July 11, 2012

    Aw, you make me proud of where I come from.

    You lived at the Desert Botanical Garden for seven years? How did that come about?

    • J. Seth (I go by Seth) Anderson
      July 11, 2012

      My bad…. the “it” was a confusing object in that sentence. “It” referred to the Sonoran Desert, not the Garden. I’ve corrected my mistake. Someday I’ll have an editor (a boy can dream). :)

  • Michael F.
    July 11, 2012

    5) Having to spend $267 every time I want to see you. 😉

  • Mark
    August 4, 2012

    I envy you… another gay having escaped from Phoenix.

    • J. Seth (I go by Seth) Anderson
      August 4, 2012

      I don’t think of it as escaping since I didn’t feel trapped. I love the desert and I’ll miss it. But life is about change and there are new adventures waiting for me in new places. I wouldn’t mind if I ended up in Phoenix at some future date.

  • Steven Reiley
    April 10, 2013

    Love it. I have lived in downtown Phoenix (Willo) for nearly 25 years. Originally from a ranch near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But I love the desert and the heat. I love the Suns (even though they are awful). So I really enjoyed your comments about Phoenix.

    I also lived in Salt Lake many years ago. I loved it too.

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