Scottsdale’s ranking as one of the most pulchritudinous cities is plummeting. Even with exquisite flora and the beauty of our desert dwellers our close proximity to Phoenix, which has been ranked high on the misery index by The Wall Street Journal, makes us subject to ridicule. The misery index decides how miserable we are and right now, a lot of people are unhappy. Why? Jobs, business, the heat, the pollution, politics are a few.  Now Forbes has ranked Phoenix/Scottsdale as the sixth dirtiest city in the United States!

That means there’s a brown haze hanging over us. I see it happen every winter. The “brown cloud” embraces our Valley from all the cars over populating our roads. The high pollution warnings tell seniors, children and those with respiratory problems to stay indoors. The minute my mother hears that she has a task she needs to complete with urgency.

“Jean, why is the air a hazy color and shimmering? I can’t see the mountains and I cleaned my glasses. I must go out today to check out the new rinse for grey hair at Walgreens.”

I called Lara—she’s the family environmentalist—to get her opinion to see if Scottsdale deserves this dirty ranking.

“Hi Honey! You’re up on these things? Your Bubbe wants to go out today. Is the air really that bad?”

“Mom! It’s disgusting! Make her heed the warnings. At the very least tell her she has to wear a mask.”

“Lara, if I tell your grandmother that she’ll want to hold up a store. Or she’ll tell me it doesn’t match her outfit. Worse, she’ll make me wear one!”

“Well, you can’t let her out. Today’s the driest, dirtiest day of the year.”

“Oh, for Heaven’s sakes! Who conducts these surveys anyway? I read in last month’s issue of Newsweek’s The Daily Beast a list of America’s 30 Funniest Cities. To my surprise Scottsdale/Phoenix weren’t on the list! Results reflected cities with the highest percentages of residents who describe themselves as funny or watch sitcoms and visit comedy clubs. I think it’s very funny here. I could write a satire about Scottsdale…not that there’s anything to make fun of.”

“Mom, you’re very funny. Michael and I laugh about your crazy antics with your friends all the time. Whoops. Dad has a droll sense of humor.”

“It still baffles me that Scottsdale isn’t on this list. I understand how Austin, Texas and New Orleans take the top two spots, but how does Milwaukee rank number seven? Now all we’re left with are headless bodies according to the Gus and big snakes that creep into our backyards from the desert. They even caught a bear cub near the library the other day. The residents here may be taking our pollution problems more seriously.”

“Mom, since when are you the Scottsdale Ambassador?”

“Since we moved here from Tempe and I schlepped your grandparents here from Florida. She reminds me every day about the cool, ocean breezes. The last thing Scottsdale needs is for everyone to think we are a miserable, dirty, and humorless city. I’d rather stick to the stereotype that we’re a bunch of boozing, spray-tanned, BMW driving blondes like on that housewives reality show. Now that I think about it, not sure which stereotype I would prefer. I think I will just stick with Stressed in Scottsdale.

4 Responses to “Are We Doing the Dirty in Scottsdale?”

  1. The Arizona Prospector Says:

    Good thoughtful post. Unless we really wake up in this state, people might as well get used to the pollution. When I came here in the late 1940’s, you could see from Apache Junction to the White Tank Mountains. Too many people = too much pollution. As bad as pollution is, our water situation is really worse. Our water tables are dropping faster than mother nature can replenish them. People better start thinking of the valley without affordable water.

  2. MuMuGB Says:

    Nice post! If you like your city, it can’t be that bad?

  3. Isabelle Gregson Says:

    Fact is, Jean, Scottsdale is on its way of becoming the new LA… so brace yourself!

  4. Jean Rubin Says:

    You know how the wannabe younger sister never quite gets it right? We’ve got pollution and botox. I think we’re already there.

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