I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Laveen Wishlist

A favorite pastime in Laveen whenever ground is broken on a new shopping complex is to speculate on what is coming. The point of this exercise is not that it's realistic. I mean, usually this is knowable information. It would be breaking the rules of the game to say, Oh, I know exactly what's going in there. It's an auto parts store, a chiropractor, a nail salon, and an insurance agent. It's an exercise in comparing visions of where the community is going.

The trick of this game is not to be so practical as to remind us that we live in a struggling community. I mean, what we need, really need, is a medical clinic if not full-on hospital and all-night pharmacy. What we need is a police sub-station. But aiming too high would also be a faux pas, because, well because that would also remind us that we live in a struggling community. I mean, we're not getting a wine bar. we're not getting an antique shop.

It's not that we're so very remote. There's a big box park about 12 miles to the west and an outlet mall about 12 miles to the east. The problem with those is that they are far enough away to qualify as destination shopping. I mean, you have to really set out to procure that particular item. Like, as opposed to ordering it from amazon. It's not like, oh, let's have lunch over at that place and then poke our heads in the card store and maybe get the kids a cookie at the bakery.

First on my list and Belle-mere's is a Hallmark store. A Hallmark store with a little post office in the back, because our real PO insists that it is rural, when of course it is not. Really, Hallmark, are you listening? There is money to be made here.

Belle-mere also votes for a fresh produce place. I mean, there's the Tesco, and a little fruit stand about five miles down. I wonder if we couldn't pull off a farmer's market.

First on my beloved spouse's list is an electronics store. There's a Fry's Electronics 12 miles away in one direction and a Best Buy 12 miles in the other and not so much as a Radio Shack in between.

Jones's number one is a comic book store, like Atomic Comics. Girl would probably second that if it were also a regular book store -- new or used. When spouse and I lived in Iowa City, many evenings out began or ended with a reading at the charming Prairie Lights. When we lived in Columbia, the kids and I used to wile away the hours at Daedalus outlet. No events, but bountiful and warehouse-y.

In Phoenix area, we are tremendously fortunate to have Changing Hands in Tempe. It's a world class bookstore with a full calendar of readings and other events. Even if we had a serviceable bookstore by us, we'd still make a point of going there, but it is even more of a pilgrimage because there is not so much as a Waldenbooks nearby.

I wish there were a breakfast place. Starbuck's is serviceable as a gathering place, but I yearn for some good bagels and even a bakery. I grab a dozen every time I pass Einstein Bros., but alas, I am usually on my way somewhere and have to make arrangements re: the cream cheese.

That's ok, but I feel that my pastry problem is more intractable. I do not think that the good people of Arizona know from pastry. Mexican food has its merits, but the pastry is these dry, heavy, sweetbreads. Yet, there is no European alternative -- no Au Bon Pain, no La Madeleine's, no Vie de France, no Le Baguette. How can this be?

I wish we had a proper deli, like Jason's would be nice. And a proper Italian place, like Babbo's. The list could go on and on. It's a fun game we play while we're waiting in line at the Carl's Jr., hoping that developers see in this community what we see.

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