Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Give Me Only Tiny News

I didn't exactly move to Phoenix from a big city. Population: 100,000. During the school year, 140,000. For now I'll skip over the part about how easy it was, back there, to get around in a car compared to facing the warp-speed zigging and zagging highway demons here.

Right now I'm stunned over the local TV newscasts. I watched the 10 p.m. news for the first time a couple nights ago. I was accustomed to big town news, not big city horror. I know that creepy people-are-awful stuff goes on everywhere. But it all feels turned up a notch here. For instance, back in the town of the Big Giant University, there are occasional animal abuse stories, usually several dogs or cats being left behind in a trailer after Jeb and Irene take off for the hills to escape their past due utility bills. Here, the story is more pointed:

According to Arizona Humane Society spokeswoman Kim Noetzel, two 15-year-old boys watched as Beadle coated the puppy in cooking oil and then fed it to the snake.

A 40-year-old man fed a puppy to a red-tailed boa. An oiled puppy.

And the happy stories just kept coming.

5 violent attacks in 5 days in Mesa.

A fight between the parents and the wife of a man who is soon to be "unplugged" medically after a car crash. He was, according to his wife, yelling at her and beating on the inside of the windshield when he lost control of the vehicle. She was trying to jump out to save her own life when they crashed.

The "local" news in Phoenix doesn't feel local to me. Local is when your town is still arguing about the university mascot and whether or not to retire it. It is about wild turkeys showing up to linger on city streets. And the biggest news of the year back home: move-in day for the university students! At the end of August, I could count on the station back home to show 4 full minutes of footage of undergrads and their sweaty parents carrying speakers and playstations and endless armloads of hanging clothes into dorm entrances.

I admit it. I'm not a big city girl. I lived in a pretend big city for a few years. Indianapolis. It's more like a mutated farm town. Big and sprawly and inconvenient. It took half an hour to get anywhere and then I felt as though I still wasn't anywhere. I liked Indianapolis but it still felt too big, too urban, too exhausting. My hometown, population 8,000, soothes me like a pedicure. Soothes. Present tense. When I was growing up there I was blisteringly bored.

There was nothing soothing about being on a farm in the middle of Nowhere's Backyard, no neighbors, no paved roads, no kids. The mysterious "town kids" had the luxury of a Hook's drugstore within biking distance. They could just go there anytime they felt like it and buy things. Comic books and gum and bright plastic jumpropes the color of highway cones. They could go to Burger Chef. They could visit each other, play games, run loose like hoodlums. On the rare occasion that I rode my bike to a friend's house, I had to struggle through the 3-inch-deep gravel with the meager tires of my stingray bike. Then after I got there, I was too tired to ride home and my mom had to come get me in the pick-up. Good times, those.

Even back in the college town, I longed for the very quiet space of the farm where I was raised. No sound but crickets and the occasional horny bullfrog. I've never liked that cricket sound. My sister, on the other hand, has a CD that sounds like a swamp. She can't get enough crickets. For me they're noisy little unnecessary in-breds that need a good beating. Like most of my family.


  • At 7:24 AM, Blogger Carin said…

    I must admit I love the sound of crickets. Not when one is chirping somewhere from inside your house (used to happen at our cottage - they loved the silverware drawer for some reason.) Cicadaes and birds and frogs- I love it.

    FTR -I don't watch the local news.

  • At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What's TV?

  • At 8:50 AM, Blogger planbreaker said…

    did you hear about this?

    and how 'bout this?

    just trying to make you feel a little bit less homesick...

  • At 1:26 PM, Blogger Domhan said…

    What kind of puppy was it?

    Ok, sorry. Don't kick me off the blog.

    I miss Burger Chef.

  • At 2:16 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Carin...And one cricket always sounds like it's the size of a basketball.

    Scott...TV is that thing we never do because we're unpacking.

    Planbreaker...(sniff)...I feel better already.

    Domhan...when you get to hell, there are going to be rows and rows of cooking oil covered puppies just waking up to chew on your ankles for all eternity.

  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger Domhan said…

    I'm far more frightened of being oiled and eaten by a snake, actually.

  • At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, I hate to tell you this because it's not gonna make you any more excited about Phoenix, but the crickets there ARE the size of basketballs! Crickets never bothered me at all until I lived in there. I hate them with a fierce passion now. I have a lot of cricket stories, but now is not the time or place.

    A word of advice: If you want to maintain your sanity out there, DO NOT--I repeat--DO NOT watch the news!!!!! First thing in the morning on Channel 3 during the week is usually OK and has a lot of fluff and some happy stories and it's funny, and the horror is usually kept to a minimum....but otherwise, I mean it, you'll lose all faith in humanity if you watch the news out there. Especially when people try to tell you, "It's everywhere."

    I honestly feel your pain--I am having panic attacks now, just remembering what it was like watching the news out there. I couldn't take it. You will never like Phoenix if you watch the news, so don't do it. There is really nothing you need to know anyway, unless you have a rapist or a sniper in your area, and Scott can give you a head's up about that.

    See you soon!!!!

  • At 7:29 PM, Blogger Domhan said…

    Sig Oth wants to know why the cooking oil. He says he can understand if the dog were, say, a poodle, and it made the going down easier. In that case, he says it might just be easier to shave it. The dog, not the snake.

    And I have to sleep with this guy.

  • At 7:35 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Futuresis...fix up your spare room. I'm packing. No more cement jungle for moi.

    DOMHAN- That sig oth of yours has needed electroshock therapy for years. The boy ain't right in the hayde.

  • At 2:36 AM, Blogger sparrow said…

    I live in Mesa... trust me, most of the riff-raff and crap happens over here. You're safer where you are.

    I promise.


  • At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have only been to Phoenix once. We passed through on our way back from California. We stayed at a seedy hotel that said 'No Prostitute' in the lobby window. We were poor and stupid. People were screaming in the night and I had to sleep on our sheets on top of the hotel sheets because I didn't know what was in the bed.

    I knew there had to be nice places in the town and sounds like you are there, with the pool and all.

    I miss Burger Chef too. My mom still has a tray from there because my friend was a Burger Chef employee and stole one for us.

    I read your wedding post too. Sounds great. I hope you have a great day and life.

  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger Jinserai said…

    See, after coming to Boston from Indiana, I think the news is wonderfully exciting.

    "With six dead in fifteen days, officials hope it's an 'aberration'"

    Front page of the Boston Metro. Wow! And the only part that's unusual is that it was 6 dead over fifteen days. If they'd spaced them out by another 5 days we probably would have never noticed.


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