When I was in high school, I had a running joke with my best friend that we never actually went anywhere, we just left a lot of places. That is, he would leave his house in his car (which he called the Barnished Ark), go to my place, and then we would leave my house, and go to another friend's house, and so on an so on until it was time to reverse the process. And for a lot of people like me, moving to Phoenix wasn't about going there, it was about leaving someplace else.
I moved to Phoenix twice. Once when I left Minneapolis at 19, and again when I left Los Angeles at 31. And if you asked me why, I would say "to get away from the snow and cold of Minneapolis" and because "Los Angeles was too expensive". And you really haven't gotten an answer from me as to why I came to Phoenix, all you've learned is why I've left those other places.
Of course, if you've never lived anywhere except where you grew up (and most of my high school friends are still in the old neighborhood in Minneapolis) all of this really makes no sense. I knew a lot of people who were born and raised in Santa Barbara, and I really didn't have to ask them why they didn't leave. It's beautiful. If I could have afforded to stay, I probably would have. And as I write this, with summer in Phoenix coming on, I'm longing for the more cooler weather of Los Angeles. And yes, I would have stayed there if I had thought that there would have been any chance of my buying a house, but there wasn't. So I left.
Phoenix is my home now, and has been for over twenty years, and I don't ever want to leave there. I want to stay there until my old body is carried away, and even then I've donated myself to the Medical School in downtown Phoenix. Yeah, I really don't want to leave!
I like the people of Phoenix. In Los Angeles, it seemed as if only celebrities mattered. If you walked into a party, people would turn to see who you were, and if you were a nobody (and I am), they would turn away, waiting for somebody. I've never felt that in Phoenix. Yes, there are celebs in Phoenix, but it isn't as if the whole town revolves around them. Sorry, now I'm ranting.
And as much as I loved growing up in Minneapolis, at this point in my life I have to wonder about my friends who are still shoveling snow. And if you've ever shoveled snow in Minneapolis, you know why it makes me shudder! I delivered newspapers in the snow in Minneapolis, with the snow up to my little waist! So I really hated snow and cold!
My Minneapolis friends have always wondered why I left, and in turn I wondered why they stayed. And my California friends, who see the summer temperatures that I post on Facebook, consider me absolutely insane. And then I ponder what their mortgages are, and how gridlocked the traffic always is. Yes, Phoenix gets traffic, but nothing like LA.
I like Phoenix, Arizona, for so many reasons. If you're in a hurry to learn why I moved here, I'll just tell you why I left the other places. If you have time, I write a love-letter to my favorite town here in this blog just about every day. And the more I learn about Phoenix, the more I love it.
Image at the top of this post: Me in front of the Saguaro Apartments in 1980, 4205 N. 9th Street, Phoenix, Arizona. All I knew then is that I had left Minneapolis, and I had yet to learn about Phoenix.
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