Life and Liquor

The Phoenicia Triangle

When I first moved to Phoenix I had some difficulty explaining where I lived. Phone calls to friends back home would typically end with me saying something like this:

“Well I sort of live in this triangle in the middle of three cities, and I don’t know how to explain it, other than to say that I’m close to everything and nothing.”

But that was never a satisfactory enough answer, so I would have to continue.

“Well, you see, I work in Arcadia, get drunk in Tempe, dance in Scottsdale, dine in Downtown Phoenix, workout in Central Phoenix, and get laid in Paradise Valley.”

“But where do you live?”

“Piss if I know. Some condo with my roommate. We have a pool, you should visit.”

I still don’t know. My address is Phoenix, but even the signs in my neighborhood change their mind about where I live. Phoenix, Arcadia, Scottsdale… nobody seems to be able to agree on it.

You’ll go from a block of thrift stores and pawn shops with bars on the windows to a block of luxury condos and swanky coffee shops. I live in a mismatched puzzle.

You’ll find an upscale boutique underneath a Busch Light billboard.

This isn’t the first time. In Columbus I lived on a street called King Avenue, which was wedged directly between Ohio State University’s campus and an upscale neighborhood called the Short North, but considered neither. Cheap apartments stood next to lavish Victorian homes. Trendy sandwich shops neighbored cash advance offices. Our community was formed by our lack of community.

I’m attracted to the borders, living on the lines between lifestyles and not having to choose a side, transitioning back and forth as I please to where I’m comfortable at the time.

Living with a store clerk on one arm and a mortgage broke on the other.

My Facebook feed will show a picture of the New York City skyline taken from a rooftop party followed by an announcement that someone’s insurance is refusing to cover a lifesaving treatment.

It’s dizzying.

So I hide in the middle where it’s safe.

And wait until I’m forced to choose a side.

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