Indie Wheel – March 2013

March 9, 2013 |
It happened 20 years ago on a beautiful spring Sunday morning in Tucson. I was riding my bike on 4th Avenue on my way to buy a loaf of bread or something to make breakfast at home. I had done that a hundred times as a young guy living near 4th Ave. No big deal.

That particular morning, however, I was feeling it. I was really feeling it. As I peddled along a stretch of 4th Avenue I let my bike just slowly drift to the middle of the avenue. There wasn’t a car in sight, you see. The road was completely empty. Open. And it was absolutely quiet except for the occasional screen door closing or dog barking something in Sunday morning dog language. So, I was peddling just enough to keep the bike moving. Then, I slowly extended my arms out and leaned my head back to feel the sun on my face. Yup, I was that guy – no rush, nothing important on my mind, just gonna get that loaf of bread. Eventually. Maybe. Or some fruit. Whatever.

At that moment, on that bike, along that avenue, even after doing it hundreds of times before on hundreds of Sunday mornings, it occurred to me how good it all felt. I had no consequences, no barriers, nothing stopping me from saying or doing anything. I was independent in the purest sense of the word because my choices were completely up to me and no one else.

Today, my nostalgia for that perfect bike ride 20 years ago guides me more as a point of reference. It is where I click “home” when I try to make sense of the world. It guides my views on politics, commerce and the arts.

Simply put, I have come to believe that independent thinking just makes everything better. Everything. Like adding chiltepin to your bowl of menudo, or getting that unexpected monsoon after a hike in late June. When you add indie values to something, that thing significantly improves.

Think about it.

The food we eat at locally owned restaurants is better because the owners tend to base their culinary choices on what we Tucsonans value and not what a corporate board member based in Chicago thinks is good and profitable enough for us. Locally produced art is better because the artists creating it strive to express something real that comes from their souls and not from a formula that fills art galleries or theater seats. And politicians tend to produce better policy when they shape their positions based on what they truly believe in, or on what their constituents want instead of what political machines or parties expect from them.

And that is the perspective I will bring to my Indie Wheel commentaries. In my columns, I will: review plays and films, analyze what we are doing as a community to support our hometown economy, and celebrate moments of independent thinking by elected officials. You will quickly figure out my politics so I have no qualms about saying, for the record, that I am a registered Democrat. What kind? The kind of D that is pro-choice, supports gay marriage, detests the draconian policies of Phoenix politicians over the years, and so on. You get the idea. But make no mistake. I would much rather have an intelligent conversation with an independent thinking Republican than I would with a Democratic cheerleader that views politics more as a football game, supporting his team no matter what they do or say.

So, in a nutshell, I look forward to bringing you my views on local commerce, politics and the arts from an indie values perspective. Let’s add a little chiltepin to the Old Pueblo and see what happens.

Category: Community