A Change Will Do You Good

A Change Will Do You Good (Happy New Year!)

Dec 23, 2019

Dogs don’t like change.

This much I can say for sure, I’ve never had a dog that liked change.  The minute you start moving the furniture around, even if it’s just so you can paint, they get all nervous and shit, like you’re about to uproot them from their favorite place and take them somewhere they just won’t like.

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People, I’ve noticed, can be a lot like dogs.  Whether the change is going to be better, worse, or a bit of both, they will fight it tooth and nail, especially when they don’t understand it.

I was going to write a typical “happy new year” and reflect on the past year, and make a few predictions for the new year – and new decade – going forward, but then I looked at NextDoor this morning, and all that just flew right off my keyboard and I decided to talk about change instead.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, all that stuff.

There’s a brand spanking new freeway near my house, and it just opened for business over the weekend.  While the freeway itself is new, the idea is not.  The whole thing started back in the 1980s (I was still in high school back then, and I certainly didn’t live here), and it’s been on the drawing board ever since.

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If you don’t know Phoenix, which most people do not, let me tell you that it’s a fairly progressive city as far as change goes.  One of my former business partners moved here the first time in the 60s, and he used to tell me stories about how Camelback Road, a main thoroughfare, was still dirt in some parts of town back then.

When I moved here in the 2000 (the first time), the city literally ended in places where they were building freeways and there was barren desert out there.  I once lived in a house at the end of the freeway (at that time) and the last five miles out to my neighborhood was pretty much barren desert.  Today that area is hugely built up, it’s got some of the most expensive residential property in the area, and it’s a vibrant, thriving area, even though the traffic is a lot worse than it used to be in the ‘good old days’.

I don’t live up there now – too far from the airport, and what would I be without the #airportfashionreport – but I think it’s great for the people who like it up there and want to live out that way.  I live in a section of town that, until this past weekend, could have been termed the largest cul de sac in Arizona, if not all of America.

But we have a freeway now.  And that freeway changes everything.  Everyone knows that, even if they don’t like the change that it’s bringing with it.  We rode our bikes on the unopened freeway the weekend after Thanksgiving (I’m a major tresspasser if you couldn’t guess, but the funny construction super who drove by us just told us to be careful, so there!) to check it out.  We rode all the way over the hill, so that we could see the west side.

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The west side, again if you don’t know your Phoenix geography, has been a place where the folks on the east side just don’t go.  We talk shit about “the avenues” and how nothing good happens over there after dark.  It’s pretty comical, actually, since they’ve been building all kinds of nice stuff over in the west side, including the Arizona Cardinal stadium.  God, what an ugly building that is, it’s perfectly fitting for the ‘west side’ that we have joked about for all the years I’ve been around Phoenix.

This morning I went to the west side.

We got in the car, and drove over to a fabric warehouse – this place is like magic.  It’s not like Britex, in San Francisco (and I admit that I haven’t been to their new location yet), it’s more like a bit of downtown LA encapsulated into a cinderblock building in the industrial section.  The drive took roughly 15 minutes, and it would have been faster but the police have also realized that we have a new freeway and it’s like Christmas for them with all the speeding going on, and the tickets they are writing.

The prices at this warehouse, on the ‘west side’, were also like downtown LA prices.  Dirt cheap, unreal, holy cow, how did I not know this place existed and I would have driven the 50 minutes to get there – since I was already driving 45 minutes out to Mesa (another ‘west side’ on the far east side of town) to go to a fabric warehouse there.   We were home in less than an hour and I got everything I needed for less than 20 bucks.  Seriously.

I feel like Lewis & Clarke, or Christopher Columbus, or Juan Ponce de Leon, there’s a whole new world over there and it’s just over the top of the hill!  More restaurants, more incredible hole in the wall places to explore and find cool stuff at ‘west side’ pricing, instead of paying the east side markup…  I’m gobsmacked by how quick and easy it is now.  Truly amazed, delighted, and looking forward to finding all the little gems in that industrial area and the surrounds.

The freeway isn’t the only noise around here.

Back to NextDoor, though…  oh. my. god.  People, give it a rest.  That freeway is open now and no matter how much you want to complain about the noise (not much relative to other freeways I’ve been around), the number of cars (it’s a freeway, get it?), the predictions that people from the ‘west side’ are going to drive over here to rob us blind, and all the other nonsense you are raving about, the freeway isn’t going to go away.

There were lawsuits, many of them, to try and stop the freeway construction.  Pretty much all of them were brought by people who bought into the cul de sac knowing that there was going to be a freeway but refusing to believe it.  Even now, people who bought their homes four or five years ago – when it was absolutely certain beyond a reasonable doubt that this freeway would be built – they complain, I swear for the sake of hearing their own voices and reading their own complaints.

The drive time from SoCal into our neighborhood has just been cut by nearly an hour, more in the commuter hours, and I can hear our property values rising as I type – so many homes in our neighborhood have been bought by people coming in with California plates (like us, I suppose), that we’re turning into a transition zone for people that don’t want to live in California any more (taxes, traffic, politics, whatever, who cares) but still want to be close enough to drive to the LA area.  These are the people who look at our home prices and say, whoa, that’s cheap, let me pay over asking for it, just to make sure I get it.

Seriously, people, get over yourselves.

The change is here, more is coming.  This is life.   I’ve been accused (more than once, actually) for liking change just for the sake of change.  I admit that is true to some extent; I don’t like it when things are stale, stagnating, or not moving forward.  I’m all about trying new things, making mistakes, getting on with life, and having a fun time doing it.

Change is going to happen, there’s not a single thing that any of us can do to stop it.  I’m not advocating that we just toss everything old out the window – I’m more of a reuse and recycle kind of gal, thus my trip to the fabric warehouse so I can re-upholster a chair I own – but I do believe that things like penicillin, the GPS, and our very own internet are examples of change for the better.  I am allergic to penicillin, by the way, and thanks to Facebook I have stopped talking to half of my contact list, probably forever, but that’s just how the story goes sometimes.


Make a resolution for the new year – grab your coat, get out and see the world!

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