Rite of Passage

Five years ago, when I started my very first blog, I titled the first post “Rite of Passage” and typed many melodramatic things about turning 18, being in a tumultuous relationship, and discovering my own beliefs about God. I will not be revisiting those things today (though, if any of those things pique your interest, there is a comment box directly south of this text).

There are many rites of passage specific to living in Arizona: visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time (I was 12); seeing snow for the first time (I was actually a baby for this); owning a car without air conditioning through the summer (age 19); going to First Friday (age 20); and my personal favorite, getting pulled over in Gilbert for having a burned out headlight (ages 20, 21, 23, and 23 + 15 minutes).

Obviously, I want to talk about the “town” of Gilbert for a moment. The “town” of Gilbert has approximately a million perfect Mormon moms and dads who have perfect children who attend perfect schools and drive perfect white Escalades with depictions of their perfect stick figure families on the back window. (I am only partially exaggerating.) Because Gilbert is one Stepford wife short of idyllic, Gilbert cops find themselves very, very bored.

Please do not misunderstand me. I love Gilbert PD. The men are friendly, handsome, funny, and overall were some of my best customers when I worked at Denny’s. However, I have been pulled over 4 times for having a headlight burned out on my car, and two of those times fell within 15 minutes of each other. To my deep chagrin, I happened to not have the 3.5″ x 4″ piece of paper in my glove box that proved my insurance, and I was ticketed.

This led to a new rite of passage, one that I am pleased to say I navigated well: going to the courts to file a motion for dismissal. Wouldn’t you know it, the court clerk was a beautiful, friendly woman who went the extra mile to make me feel happy and comfortable in spite of the (ridiculous) circumstances.

Today, Arizona itself went through an American rite of passage when our gay marriage ban was struck down by the Supreme Court. This is a rite long overdue, especially for two of my dearest friends. One is now free to marry whomever he wants, if he finds someone good enough. The other only has 19 states left before she has to stop saying, “I’ll get married when everyone can get married,” and find a new excuse. Congratulations, my loves.

What rites of passage do you have in your hometown, home state, or even in your family? (Ha! If we got talking about rites of passage in my family we’d be here for hours…maybe keep it to your hometown.) Please leave a comment below!

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5 thoughts on “Rite of Passage

  1. Heh, I grew up in Scottsdale which is sounds real similar to Gilbert. Same douchey residents and similar bored to death, douche bag police force. I can totally relate to getting pulled over for terribly minuscule offenses. Were you ever pulled out of your car, held up for 30+ minutes, searched and questioned to seemingly no end every time? Oh man…. the memories. Happy to share the misery of growing up in an upscale neighborhood with you!

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    • My friends think Gilbert is trying to be a mini-Scottsdale. By the sound of it, Gilbert may be succeeding. I can’t say I’ve had quite your experience with the cops. That sounds like a witch hunt.

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  2. I am happy to say I have never had to experience AZ PD in a negative light yet. I know the feeling of growing up around a high scale neighborhood and can completely agree. My rite of passage would be probably turning 21 and drinking with free/ease as well as making money enough to be independent. I think rites of passage are really interesting to learn about and many times people go through similar experiences or the same. Great post and cheers to your birthday and rites of passage!

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  3. I’ve lived in a few towns that try to be perfect and it can be interesting at times, especially when you have to deal with the city. As for the AZPD I have not had to deal with them yet and my home town the police are not too bad.

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