Raising Phoenix: Contemplating the Complexities of Living in Arizona

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By AMY SILVERMAN | Phoenix Magazine

Current controversies aside, our columnist will never leave Arizona. Her daughters might be another story.

A funny thing happened the other night. I was out to dinner with three of my best girlfriends, sitting under the stars on one of those bonus May nights in Phoenix where you thought it would be too hot to sit outside, but it’s actually quite pleasant, even without the benefit of misters.

We were enjoying the breeze and Gallo Blanco’s roast chicken when one of the women asked a question: “If you could live anyplace else, where would it be?” They all jumped in at once. One is considering New Mexico, another dreams of upstate New York. A third is trying to get German citizenship.

I was uncharacteristically quiet, nursing my Jarritos. I couldn’t think of a place I’d rather live.

Chalk it up to good weather and the to-die-for tile in the restaurant’s bathroom – because I’m just that shallow – or maybe the pandemic’s worn me out. Could be old age.

Whatever it is, I’m good, even with all the bad. But more and more, I’m not so sure I want my daughters to stay here.

I’m used to the bad. I was raised on bad. Arizona’s always been a prickly place where people come to start fresh, gate off the neighbors and vote libertarian. The Wild West, right? Survival of the fittest.

I used to look at the state’s dismal stats on funding for everything from public preschool to assistance for the elderly and wisecrack, “Arizona is a great place to be a journalist and a lousy place to be a human being.”

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