Friday, December 16, 2011

Snowbirds... Snowbirds.. Fly Away Home

I know, I know, I know.  I'm supposed to think of the good they do for the economy.  I'm supposed to focus on the fabulous restaurants which have developed to entertain them.  I'm supposed to smile at the tax revenues and civic good will and I'm trying, denizens, I'm really trying, but it's getting harder with each and every year.

We moved to Tucson in July.  No one is in Tucson in July.  There's a family member requiring a visit or a business trip which must be taken or a road trip that conveniently falls in the middle of the summer.  The roads are empty.  I wrote a post card that summer to a friend commenting on the fact that the infrastructure is there though the people are not. 

I was often the only car on a four-lanes-in-one-direction through street.  There was no need to speed; the road was my own personal property and I could tool along, enjoying the scenery, trying to figure out where I was.  No one cut me off.  No one drove 35 in the left lane in a 45 zone.  No one sat at a stop light admiring the green arrow but not turning as it requested.  No one was there to annoy me.

Come Thanksgiving, though, it's another story entirely.  My cousin Amanda warned me about "the tarantulas, the scorpions, the javelina and the elderly" when she heard we were moving to Tucson.  She was so right.  Just because you have existed on the planet for 9 decades, just because you can barely see through the steering wheel (forget about seeing over the steering wheel), just because you decide that it's your turn to go...... just because doesn't mean you'll be safe, or that I won't be screaming as I travel behind you.

I ask you, denizens - is it necessary to come to a full and complete stop before making a right turn on a green arrow at an intersection where the only other cars are behind you?  Apparently, those who sport Minnesota license plates think that it is a requirement.  It happened to me twice this afternoon.

I drove 56 miles picking up CTG butterflies for the caregivers at G'ma's pod-castle, dropping off checks and order forms for onion sets to plant in my raised bed next spring, being interviewed by the Associated Press and spending quality time with other January 8th'ers, spending an hour at pilates, pushing the world's heaviest cart through Costco, picking up prescriptions and garlic bread and taking the scenic route home.  I had the opportunity to see a lot of Tucson- the Foothills, midtown, the far east side.  I noted that our streets are in need of repaving and that our traffic cameras are quite annoying (I wonder if I was the one who was "flashed" at Grant and Kolb today) and that no one understands that slower traffic should move to the right. 

I know I am a dstractable driver.  I try to use the phone when I am not behind the wheel.  I spent today traveling behind others who would benefit from adopting a similar perspective.  If you are holding the phone with one hand and gesticulating with the other how are you steering your vehicle?

And then there was the woman with the phone in one hand and some kind of take-out food in the other.  No one is that busy. 

The construction in my neighborhood continues unabated.  Ashton Construction has left and a new company has taken their place.  Pavement seems to be optional as they rip up and re-direct generally make it impossible for me to do what I want to do when I want to do it without driving 5 blocks out of the way. The fact that the snowbirds have landed and are stupefied by the barricades and the flashing lights and the Keep Right Keep Left signs just make it more impossible to leave home.

Big Cuter arrives tomorrow.  My last Humanities Seminar is tomorrow.  I have one more round of packages that have to go to the post office but that is it.  I think that after that, I am staying in my house until after the new year arrives.  It's just too scary out there.


  1. This gave me a good laugh...even though I am a Florida snowbird. (I easily pass as a native in our area because I am not from Michigan).

  2. Oh, I hear you! I risk my life every time I go pick my kids up from school these days! I've seen some scary stuff and I'm constantly wondering what's the lesser of 2 evils--them being overly cautious (going 30 in a 45) or just flat out clueless (crossing 3 lanes of traffic because they see the Post Office, all of a sudden)? Oy.

    But I will say that one of my biggest goals in life is to become a snowbird, hopefully by the time my 50's roll around so we can really enjoy it--it just seems like a great, "best of both worlds" lifestyle to me.

  3. Which is why my absolutely favorite month in Tucson is August ahhhhhhh. The trails are vacant also. Come the winter the town explodes with activities, golf tournaments, entertainment and yes the snow birds. These days though with renting our house down there during the winter, I can't complain as it definitely pays the expenses and allows upgrades as well as listening to the people write back about how much they love it. There is one advantage of winter-- rattlers are hibernating ;) Otherwise I'd as soon get there about the time everybody else leaves which means May. Still nice and somewhat less people. (incidentally June is my least favorite month when yes the snowbirds are gone but it's so hot, so humid and the storms have yet to arrive. Every day you look to the south wondering how many more weeks......

  4. I don't know about the rest of you, but the traffic in DC is absolutely horrible. I literally live four miles away from my office, but it still takes me 20 minutes to get to and from home.

    I have no patience for older drivers. My MIL scares the Hell out of me when I'm in the car with her. She has driven down the wrong side of the road several times and she refuses to give-up her car--even at the urging of her children. She lives in a senior community and they provide buses for people to do shopping etc...

    BUT... I'm not going to just complain about senior drivers, it's also teenagers that tail-gate and go way too fast (not that I'm a slow driver), but the swerving in and out of traffic is annoying and all to get one car ahead.

    AB, you opened a can of worms with me. LOL. I am one of the most intolerant drivers.

    Have a good weekend. I'm envious that you are done with your shopping.

    Megan xxx

  5. AMeN, SuZie!!! Here in E. MeSa, it's all I can do to bite my tongue when it comes to the SCaDs of SNoWBiRDs who invade our area! Individually, I'm sure they are very nice people, just trying to enjoy the SuNNy DRy WeaTHeR that I LoVe to take for granted, but honestly they seem to drive me BaTsH$% cRaZy... Going to CoSTCo is an absolute's like they get behind a cart and think they own the place for petesake! What is it about the sense of entitlement that drives me up the wall? I TRY to get to understand them, realizing where there at & where I'll ultimately end up, but it can really require a lot more PaTieNCe than I'm able to tolerate!
    GooD LuCk out there!!! LoL

  6. Nothing like a good growl, eh? Especially in December.

    Have to admit that I laughed at the juxtaposition of the phrase "Humanities Class" with the rest of this post. :)

  7. Myrtle Beach is much the same. And I notice that I've lost depth perception and peripheral width, that I get anxious about being squeezed out of the left lane when I need it for a left turn (blame the SC engineers!), and that I don't drive as confidently as I did fifteen years ago. To the high school kids who dominate our roads at 4:00 p.m., I AM the problem.

    There's this, though: You could be over-extended, but you are not bored!

  8. I graduated from the UofA in 1984, and used to complain about the snowbirds. Now I am one. We're a mixed blessing. Who else would pay for your unused Tucson Electric Park now that spring training has left Tucson for Phoenix? We in the RVs are paying 50 cents a day for that ill fated venture. Old people everywhere can be annoying in their cars, but Tucson, and you, should rejoice in the cash cows that come, poop money, and leave.

  9. I don't mind the ridiculous driving, but I really can do without the self-righteousness and self-importance. Some snowbirds seem to believe that people should not have children, and think that you should get out of their way in Trader Joe's, or just hog the aisle. Sorry, but life is going on here, kids live in Tucson and were here all summer, so calm your old self down and deal...heh.

    "Buick" is the Indian word for "old and slow."


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