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Friday, 14 January 2011


Last Saturday's carnage in my old hometown had the interesting side-effect of jarring my brain into reflection on my time living in Tucson and the reasons I left and the nature of “home.”

Before this happened, I didn't consider Tucson to be my “hometown.” I interpret words literally, for the most part, and thus my hometown is the town in which I make my home, which is Seattle. I rather rejected the town in which I grew up; it used to be home, but no longer, and I was quite glad to no longer live there. I still am glad not to live there, but having the national spotlight on places of my childhood and teenage years, even for such abhorrent and disturbing reasons, has prompted a change in attitude about the old stomping grounds. Not necessarily a change in opinion; I thought Arizona as a whole if not Tucson in particular was a social backwater and politically retarded when I left and if anything it's much worse in that respect today.

But I found I have some interesting sensory memory of things when looking at photos or watching video feeds surrounding this incident. The dry heat, the scent of the palo verdes and so on, the abstract “feel” of the environment. It kind of is actually home. It's ingrained.

Which isn't to say I want to go back. I can't think of a good reason to do that, or even a bad one. There's not even Spring Training there anymore (boy, did Pima County ever drop the ball on that one, so to speak). But I wouldn't mind a visit. And that's new; I haven't been back there in 10 years and have never missed it. But I'm curious now. How much has the city changed, how much empty desert has the sprawl eaten, is eegee's still awesome?

I chose a place to live that is in some ways 180 degrees opposite from the place I grew up in. Seattle is wet and green and urban, liberal and hi-tech. Tucson is arid and brown, aspires to be suburban, and many people walk around armed and macho in a university town whose non-academic economy is based on road construction, convenience stores, and strip clubs. Opposite right down to the area code, as my dad said once. I traded up.

But seeing the president speak from a few feet away from the clothespin sculpture on my old campus, watching interviews with people on the hospital grounds on Campbell Avenue (halfway between my old house and the comics shop I frequented), seeing photos of the landscaping of barrel cacti and ocotillo... I'm a little nostalgic, in a bizarre way.

Though I'm sure a couple of days back there would drive me back north in no time at all.

  Posted in by Tim at 04:33 PM Pacific Time on Friday, 14 January 2011


Previous comments

Comment by abelson at 11:13 PM Pacific Time on Friday, 14 January 2011:

what's eegee's?

Comment by Mom at 06:00 PM Pacific Time on Monday, 17 January 2011:

Eegee's is still awesome. It's a local fresh sandwich and frozen-slushee with fresh juice place that has quite wonderful food and ice, .

I still miss Tucson a lot, but agree with your political assessment. I'd love to return to the physical environment and will always miss it unless I give in and go back eventually, but not the social/political one.

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