Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Let me tell you about Arizona..."

For those of you who care, I'll be gone for a couple of weeks, starting tomorrow, at a journalism institute in Phoenix. For those of you who don't care, why are you reading this? Get lost.

I broke the news to some friends at a neighborhood bar the other day (they indicated their displeasure by cheering and buying everyone rounds), and my plans were overheard by this guy nearby. He was short, grey haired, smoking something that vaguely smelled of compost, with an expression on his face that made him look like he'd sat on something sharp.

"Arizona?" he asked. "You're going to Arizona?"

I affirmed that I was.

"Let me tell you about Arizona," he said. "Arizona. You got to understand about Arizona."

I waited. Everyone else was smarter: they left to go play darts. But I stood there expectantly.

"The thing about Arizona," he began, rapping his knuckles on the table for emphasis. "The thing you got to understand about Arizona..."

I ordered another drink.

"The thing about Arizona that nobody realizes..." he went on. "I mean, Arizona, man, it's...Arizona, you understand..."

I excused myself to go to the bathroom. When I came back, I edged to the dart board and played a few rounds.

"Let me tell you one thing about Arizona," I heard behind me. I turned. I saw him, a fresh drink in his hand and an earnest expression on his face. "I tell you what, what you got to see about Arizona..."

"What?" I yelled. "What about Arizona?" I can be even-tempered, even in a bar. But still, enough is enough.

He looked at me as if I'd just asked him what color fire trucks are. "It's full of assholes," he proclaimed, finished his drink and stalked off righteously.

Well. There you have it.