Phoenix Has an Inferiority Complex

Or maybe you do

Like it sounds, the Kennedy School is an old elementary school the McMenamins narrowly saved from destruction, adding their own charming touches (one drinking hole's called the Honor Bar, no smoking, another's the Detention Bar) and showing cool movies like Sideways. As always happens when I go someplace else, I got mad at Phoenix. I stomped off to the restroom, with its original cute kid-size toilets and one of those towel dispensers you had in school where the white metal machine supposedly sanitizes the towel as it passes through (I was always suspicious of those), and thought to myself, no one would ever think to do anything neat with an old school in Phoenix. No, they'd just destroy it and put up a strip mall.

And then I started laughing, so hard I probably scared somebody. In the late '80s, someone did save an old Phoenix elementary school from demolition. They rehabbed it lovingly -- hired the best landscape architect in town to put in native plants, and the most talented architect to make the space usable, with courtyards and funky accents like a fountain of water-spitting lizard and snake heads. Every time I walk into the building to go to work, it makes me like this place in spite of myself.

When I got back to Phoenix, I told my boss Rick about my funny epiphany about the New Times Building. "You've got to use that as the ending to your story," he said. I agreed.

Keeping the good thought.
Jeff Newton
Keeping the good thought.
"But there's nothing to do. . ."
Jeff Newton
"But there's nothing to do. . ."

"Yeah," Rick said, glancing around his office, which overlooks a beautiful patio with a pond stocked with bright orange fish, "this building is really great. Too bad this part of town is such a complete shithole."

Not long ago, I tried to find that old wallet with the "I ♥ Phoenix" paper in it. It's long gone. I replace my wallets and purses the way I used to replace my cities, always searching for one that will hold everything just right and still look good. No worries. I think I'm beyond a slip of paper. Someone needs to print up some good-looking I ♥ Phoenix bumper stickers, and paste them all over town.

But don't you dare stick one on my car.

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