Here we are, my hubby and I, in Glendale Arizona. Gorgeous sunset skies and so close to one of the wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon. How come we are surrounded by a Westgate Mall where people are looking for holiday sales, and a Cabela’s Outfitter store that will give away Browning rifles to the first 800 shoppers that line at the door at 5am on Thanksgiving? Tell me. Please, answer my naive question. This is surreal. If I was still asleep at 2pm I definitely woke up after entering Cabela’s. The Fodor Travel book suggested visiting the Old Town and Caitland Corner. We tried. The only think we found was thrifty stores trying to pass themselves off as antique shops. I guess the economic crisis hit town before they could finish the job. On the other hand, the tattoo stores are booming and we saw few Mexican girls with pierced noses holding a sign on the corner of Glendale Ave with 67th Ave offering free tattoos.
Outside our hotel veranda there is a big silver spaceship that looks even more striking agains the dark gun powder gray sky. It’s the University of Phoenix Stadium, the Arizona Cardinals professional football team’s home. Here, the US female soccer team will play against Sweden. We watched the US training this late morning and drove around guided by the Fodor’s travel book afterwards. Back to the hotel, I can’t quite get away from the impression Cabela’s Outfitter store left on me.
“Hot Lead vs Hot Espresso, Shoppers vs Shooters.” My husband can’t stop laughing.
“Draft Beer Drinkers vs Head Shot Thinkers.” He laughs a little more. I watch him call his buddy in Florida to share his impressions of this side of the world.
I kept taking pictures of everything that was new to me: lines of rifles ranging from $75 to a thousand dollars, an aquarium with two albino catfishes, videos for children using fake guns, camouflage clothing, a T-shirt with a front design showing a smoking gun written “Happiness is...” I feel I’m on another planet. Glued to a restaurant’s door I see a “No firearms allowed” poster that reminded me of a similar one I saw at a Kansas hotel in the beginning of this year. I realize I’ve been blind all these years living in California. I assumed whatever I wanted to assume. I’m made of a mishmash of conceptual ideas about freedom, civil rights, amnesty, animal rights, Gandhi, save Tibet, save the polar bears and the dolphins, end the famine in Africa and stop the melting of the planet. My mind is an antenna capturing trillions of events and the emotions that come attached to them. I look at the world around me coming from a great desire to make the world a better place. “My” better place. So self centered, I know, but that’s what everybody does. Oh well, I do the best I can.
Tonight, CNN announced that Republican and Democratic Congress men didn’t agree on a way to diminish the national debt. As a woman who was born during the Brazilian dictatorship time, I always thought of the power the presidents had. I wished Obama was a dictator for a split second. I feel discouraged thinking about him and the Republican candidates for the 2012 presidency. “Se correr o bicho pega, se ficar o bicho come.” This Brazilian saying literally means “ If you run the animal catches you, if you stay it eats you.” Years ago I wanted to be an American citizen to be able to vote, and now I’m cringing at the thought of the election day that is around the corner.
Iowa State beat Oklahoma State and the field got packed with happy American football fans. The “Occupy” movement would be very happy to see that amount of people walking in the streets asking for equality. I wonder what would make Arizonians to camp on the fields around the Westgate Mall and Cabela’s Outfitter. I look at the million stars on this amazing sky and want to visit its big observatory. The documentary about the band “The Doors” is on TV and I imagine that everyone on this country is on drugs. Each one is humming an old song that perpetuates a foggy impression of what’s going on. “But don’t we all do that,” I asked myself. Jim Morrison thought he was part of a revolution until he watched a play, acted as an invincible fool and ended up in jail. For a long time I thought that art was a revolutionary tool, and I have to confess that visiting the Cabela’s store felt like something was killing the poetry I carry in my heart. I don’t want to die in the bath tub like Jim. The fresh cold water of reality stings my skin, but I prefer to take a skinny dip in this middle of nowhere Arizona state.