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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Downtown is another dimension

    Andi Berlinarts columnist
    Andi Berlin
    arts columnist

    Even though it’s less than a mile away from us, downtown Tucson is like another dimension. It may not be full of intergalactic brain aliens or Isaac Asimov robots, but it does have a few of its own surprises: namely bad streets and bums.

    This hypothesis might seem like an overstatement, but it’s really the honest to God truth. Once you’ve attempted to go to the library or made the gross miscalculation of actually trying to get coffee down there, you will understand that every single longitudinal point in that tainted radius is a mockery of an actual place. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that every person that enters into that vicinity instantly becomes a hologram and loses their brain capacity, transforming them into extras from “”Star Wars”” or mindless invalids.

    I ventured down to ground zero the other day trying to find the art museum and I felt my brain slowly melting and pouring out my ears and nostrils. It continued to slosh around in my skull until I finally gave up on what I was doing, left downtown and sought out the first McDonald’s I could find (it’s been proven that breathing corporate air molecules has been known to cure downtown brain sickness).

    I then sought out to compile a list of some of the major downtown abominations, just so the newly retarded people like myself will know exactly what to do and what to avoid when they enter the parameter. That way, even though they’ll become paralyzed for life, they may still be smart enough to avoid going to McDonald’s.

    1. The streets in downtown absolutely do not make sense.

    I’ve been going to this area of Tucson for three years now, and I still don’t have any idea how to get around. Broadway at one point is East-West, but then becomes North-South for a minute and then merges with Congress, which is also Fourth Avenue. If you want to get to South Fourth Avenue, you have to avoid downtown altogether.

    Toole Avenue is possibly the most confusing, because it points diagonally the entire time. This causes it to intersect with every street, so it’s almost impossible to determine which way you’re heading when you cross it.

    Most of the major streets curve and merge, so don’t be surprised if you end up in the wrong place. Just make sure you’re not going the wrong way down a one-way, because those things can pop up out of nowhere.

    2. Business hours work on another plain of existence.

    When I trekked over there last Monday afternoon, pretty much every single place I wanted to go to was closed. Granted, it was Presidents Day, but just to be sure, I went back the next day with the same results. Here is a chronological list of the places I unsuccessfully ventured to: the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, the parking garage of the Joel D. Valdez Library, the library itself, Ike’s Coffee Shop, selected galleries along Congress, four different restaurants in the multi-colored La Placita area, and then finally the thrift shop St. Vincent De Paul on the fringes. (Note, St. Vincent was actually open that day, but I spent so much time trying to visit the other places that I got there five minutes after the closing time of five o’clock). I don’t understand what compels these shop owners to close during the middle of the day, but I suspect it has to do with them being werewolves.

    3. Last but not least, it’s a haven for crazy people.

    It’s probably because there are so many bars in the area, but everyone I encounter downtown is constantly drunk and/or on some form of post-Vietnam trauma drugs. First there’s the incredibly slow shirtless man that screams and pushes a cart full of soda cans and old shoes everywhere, and the even worse breed of homeless people that think telling you they want to get drunk with your money will actually persuade you to give it to them.

    “”Can I have a dollar? I just wanna’ get drunk. HEY! I’m being honest. Gotta’ give me credit for that,”” they always say. After hearing the same thing dozens of times, I almost hope they’d lie. Last but not least, there’s the haggard old woman who walks up and down the streets in Christmas tree pajamas and oven mits on her hands, asking people for “”bud.”” We call her “”Three’s Company,”” because she also talks about the show to herself when she thinks you can’t hear her.

    I suspect she’s just another victim of this serious brain disease, and might just benefit from a Starbucks or Target somewhere. As for the rest of us, we might just have no hope.

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