Sunday, April 17, 2016

El Pastel de Queso Blanco

Thought I might write something. Got some changes coming up. So a fresh start and all that. Besides - I promised someone I would.

For any people in Britain reading, this is called "sunshine."
I've come to like living in Arizona. And I think it's fair that it takes awhile to come to that conclusion. It's really like no other place. And I've never lived anywhere in my near-forty years that quite clearly tells it's residents that people shouldn't really be living here. For almost a year it was if the surrounding geography came to life and snarkily said, "Hey Gav. Jesus, how are you still so white? Seriously, it's like your body is making a political statement to show support for the ghosts of dead white power people who happened to work in a Tippex factory. Honestly - they should use you in lighthouses to guide ships at night. Anyway, thought I'd pop in and mention - have you noticed how everything is dead? I mean pretty much everything? And things that aren't are either weirdly lethal or is the very symbolism of almost dead. I mean - you've seen the strangely, leathery old people knocking about right? They look like they're made of English toffee. Anyway thought I'd remind you. I mean come on - the few plants that do have evolved to stab anything that comes near them. Purely because for millennia those things would kill anything that came near them."

To which I would reply, "aren't you noticing the massive irony of a dead desert landscape coming to life just to remind me how everything here is dead?"

It did rain last week though. For the first time this year. I thing I was one of only a few people wandering about utterly aware that we were 100 days into the year with nary a raindrop. Which in itself is messing with my memory of back home. I haven't been back to the UK since March 2008. My daughter was six months old when I was last in England. She's nine this year. My memories of Bristol all involve rain. Moving house in a torrential downpour. Walking the dog by the River Avon and it being so flooded the swans were swimming around the leaves on the oak trees. Catching a buss from Clifton back to Brislington because I was so soaked already that my clothes made a sort of rubbery, squeezing noise every time I moved. A few weeks a go a friend posted a very pretty picture of the Houses of Parliament. All I could see was this.

British people's hair has evolved into an umbrella shape.

A year and a half in as an Arizona resident and I see the beauty. I hugely appreciated getting to wander around mountains in deepest winter. I love that I could take my kids to playgrounds and parks whilst knowing that when we last did that in New York we all had snow clothes on. And that was in April. And yes I'm acutely aware that in August when it's 115 degrees I will bitch about that. And somehow still not have a tan.

Yet despite coming to enjoy it here I still have some irrational reservations. For example, I'm worried that I'll be sat harmlessly on my couch eating tortilla chips with slices of cheese - whilst licking taco sauce off a spoon (don't you judge me) when I'll inadvertently drop a chip. And when I reach down to pick it up a scorpion the size of a babies' foot will grab the chip and run off. And no matter where I look I can't find it. But I'll be able to hear can it. Munching. All night.

I'm worried that I'll be hiking up a mountain half-naked (no doubt local news reports will be choc-a-bloc with sightings of the rare Albino Mountain Hippo) when I'll be stopped by Park Police and accused of some sort of hate crime. Purely from the fact that despite having ponced about in the constant, unforgiving, never-ending sun for fourteen months that I still some how have skin so white it looks like canned chicken. More to the point - I don't even wear t-shirts very often. MY body has voluntarily decided to alter it's pigment to evoke a t-shirt tan.

I'm concerned that on the 173rd day straight of it being over 100 degrees that I'll go to the store for drinking water and they'll be out of it completely. And every store I go to will be out of it. And i'll be forced to go home and drink water right from the tap. And if you want to replicate that then simply wrap a dead pigeon in tramps sock and drop it in a bowl of cat piss for twenty four hours. Then drink it. Bear Grylls wouldn't drink that. Actually he would - which is precisely the indication that it's rank.

More than anything though moving to Arizona has coincided with me being happy. First and foremost my kids are here. Secondly - I managed to figure myself out in the year before moving from New York. I was still very much mired in problematic circumstances. My kids had moved 2500 miles away. I was living in periphery of a poorly chosen relationship that involved one of the most callous, astonishing, emotional head-fucks I am ever likely to experience. But I had just got to that point of taking a damn good look at myself. I liked me. And moving did that symbolic thing of making everything new. And almost to a tee it's been 18 months of happy. More pointedly - since moving here I've met some of the most loving, kind, piss-taking, wonderful people. Saying they make me happy is not a big enough word at all. It's a truly bizarre feeling to have people in my life I'm that close to that just seeing them happy means the world to me.

Those who know me know that every weekend I don't have my kids I go hiking. I love it. Not just the physical aspect of it. But I'm an over-thinker. Excessively so. Often I can make sense of it either by just bloody well sitting there until I've thought about it long enough. Or writing it out. Or best of all - talking to someone who has the exact same issue of over thinking everything. But for some reason when I sweat my tits off on a hike I can make linear sense of things. Or at least come to terms with a thought or an idea. And by God does that make me happy.

The only photo I'll ever share of me working the pole.
So I'll take the scorpions. I'll keep the t-shirt tan. I'll deal with worrying about living in place tterly devoid of water (besides - I can always drink a peach bellini or a margarita). Because if someone told me that guaranteed - in among the usual ebb and flow of life's ups and downs - they could promise that for the next eighteen months I'd be as happy as I have been for the last eighteen months, then I'd take that in a heartbeat.

"Although you will be whiter than Taye Diggs teeth."

They'll undoubtedly say.


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