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Waiting for nothing

Laura Wilson
By Laura Wilson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, December 1, 2005
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You always remember your first time

Tucson is a really big small town. Despite the amount of sprawl, the Old Pueblo has retained some sense of community and congeniality. Even if you've only been here for a year or two and rarely leave the university neighborhood, it's almost impossible not to frequently run into someone you either a) know, b) know of, c) know someone who they know or d) have slept with.

For some this can be stifling, but for the rest of us, it is strangely comforting, like a ratty old security blanket. Ask anyone who has ever lived anywhere else, and he or she will tell you that Tucsonans are a different breed of people. Maybe it is a side effect of too much sun, but people here tend to be a little more laid back and honest. The desert calls for a lack of pretense, and locals seem to comply.

When I was a child, I hated the fact that I couldn't go to the grocery store without running into someone who a) knew me, b) knew my parents or c) didn't know me but talked to me anyway. Nowadays, I like running into people I know, but it took a few years of living in the subtly snobby Pacific Northwest for me to figure that out. I appreciate the honesty and warmth of our little town. Actually, allow me to clarify: I appreciate the honesty and warmth of our little town that occurs between the months of February and October.

What is it about the holidays that bring out the capitalistic worst in everyone? I could blame it on the influx of snowbirds, but that would be letting too many people off the hook. After spending the wee morning hours of Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in line at Best Buy, I'm not really sure that the Tucson spirit that I hold so dear has ever really existed.

I've never been one to enjoy a lack of sleep, but my slowly dying computer needed replacing and Best Buy offered a solution: At 5 a.m. it would open its doors and allow me the opportunity to purchase a brand-new computer for $150. Now, the small print (and there is always small print) stated that each store would have a maximum of 20 of these desktop beauties, so my boyfriend and I knew we would have to get in line hours before the doors opened. We thought that 1 a.m. would be early enough, but we were sadly mistaken.

When we arrived at 12:45 a.m., we were shocked to see upward of 60 people already in line. The people at the front of the line had brought a generator, television set and Xbox, which we laughed about until we found out that they had already been there for 15 hours. Apparently some people take their shopping way too seriously.

We decided to wait in line and take our chances, hoping to enjoy the holiday spirit of spending. We tried to make friends with those in line around us, but we were stuck between a family that didn't speak English (except to say "sorry" after repeatedly hitting me with their cart) and two teenage girls who seemed oddly fascinated with Disturbed. It became clear that we couldn't sufficiently communicate with either. I smiled at people, but they all must have thought that I was just after their spot in line because they all scowled back at me with sheer consumer hatred in their eyes.

After four hours of sitting on the cold cement praying that my bladder wouldn't burst, we were told that they were out of computers. Sadly, I was more let down by my fellow Tucsonans than Best Buy. Is a cheap electronic device really worth more than community? Is a new computer worth more than a pleasant conversation? If I had one, I'd probably say yes.

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