The wilds of Scottsdale

I’m at the Scottsdale Plaza hotel to give a speech for the Arizona trial lawyers  No time for  breakfast.  But thank goodness, find a chocolate peppermint Luna bar in my computer bag.  Chomp. Chomp.  Hat. Check.  Watch. Check. Room key.  Check.  Out the door into the heat.

Run down the main road a few blocks, turn right on Cheney road.  Go past Cheney estate gates.  And chase the shade.  The main thing I notice about wherever I am, is there is a whole lot of sprinkling going on.  Periodically there are desert shrubs and artfully erected cacti.  But mainly, there are lush lawns being watered.  The run off  is dribbling across the my path.

Everywhere I look there are fountains bubbling.  In the Northwest we’re into fountains that look like rocks.  Actually they are rocks.  The main reason for a water fountain in Seattle is to drown out street noise.  Because let’s face it.  We don’t really need to see more water in Seattle.  Here, the fountains are big, gray red-clayish colored and tiered.    I have a cheap version of these in my rose garden.   Have never figured how to make it stand upright.  My neighbors have helped me prop it up at least twice.  It is always plugged with goo.  It is less fountain and more of a decrepit garden folly.  Right now a big spider has attached a corner of its web to it.  Shudder.

Anyway, back to the run.  The sidewalks are nice.  At different points they weave in a continuous s-shape flow.   Not sure why.  But then spy the bike lanes on the road.  Maybe it’s to keep the bikers from hitting the peds.  Except I pass about two bicyclists all morning and as many fellow joggers.  No one is walking out here.

I’m a bit of a nosy tourist and like looking at the places people live.  Also like to rate their landscaping efforts.  That’s a bit hard to do here.    Everyone lives behind a high solid wall.  The only people I see out and about are the workers who are caulking, painting and washing down the walls.  So I run along, seeing pretty much. .. Well, nothing.

I stay in these back neighborhoods because there aren’t many cars.   Sometimes the sidewalks are only on one side of the street.  These generally correspond with the sunny side.  So I am running along, looking longingly at the other side of the shady street.  But I don’t dare run off the sidewalk.

Yeah.  You know how ridiculous my imagination can be.   I’m always scanning the ground.  Oops, a raised portion over here due to a tree root.  Good thing I catch that otherwise I could trip and fall forward and hit my head and I would bounce and lose a tooth.  Or worse, break something.  Or worse, get a brain injury.  Probably not brain stem because I would fall forward.  But still.  In general the sidewalks are in good repair.  I come up to a little four way intersection.  Cross and am almost to the other side when I see a red Mustang convertible approaching.   Thin overly tanned wrinkly man in the front with a beige baseball hat on.  Oh don’t worry.  There’s a stop sign in front of the crosswalk.  But lawyer me pauses.  And Mr. Wrinkly proceeds to blow the intersection .   I could reach out and pound on his car because he almost runs over my foot.   I’m not even exaggerating.   He would definitely have hit me if I hadn’t stopped.  I yell at him and he mumbles something and turns right.  I mean, what was he looking at other than right at me.  Am I a phantom.  Don’t I exist.  What is wrong with people.  I could have been killed in Scottsdale you idiot.  Breathe.  Relax.  Thankful that I am a defensive pedestrian.  And keep going.

Realize after awhile haven’t seen a single bug.  And the grass doesn’t look like my front lawn.  There are no lucky four leaf clover (patches).  No mowed off dandelions.  No moss, fungus, or mole holes.  It is perfect little green grass.  I’d like to lay down, do somersaults in it.  Heck I’d like to pick off some of the dewy wet little morsels and chew them right about now.  But they’d probably kill me.

After facing all of these desert dangers, it’s time to head back.  But before turning into our compound I cross the street.  There is a park there.  Not huge, but it looks cute.  It is a bit of a kiddy park but what a neat place this is.  There are several old restored train pieces plus a caboose and engine scattered around the grounds.  Little cute picnic gazebos dot the edges.  Apparently they give train rides because there are embarking stations (they aren’t open yet).  And best of all a miniature train set up around a course.  Very cute.  Very safe.  And so in good spirits, I cross back across the street, make it back to my room and realize I need to chug a quart of water to stave off the dehydration headache I feel coming on.

Karen Koehler