Ate (ah-tay), n. 1. an ancient Greek goddess personifying the reckless ignorance between action and reaction. 2. The patron deity of the oblivious.
Never has there been as sad a tale of love lost than that of Tucson and its Ate.
They met outside the boarded-up Fox Theatre a few years ago. Tucson was reminiscing – Ate stopped to listen. They hit it off right away.
Ate was drawn to Tucson’s enthusiasm and charmed by its nostalgic side. Tucson was taken with Ate’s fearlessness and optimistic vigor.
They went on a picnic, nibbled whole grain crackers and soy cheese and daydreamed.
Tucson regaled Ate with modes of the downtown of yesteryear. Together they envisioned its future.
Ate promised new and exciting adventures, stroking Tucson’s ego and pointing out its misunderstood potential. She praised the little things Tucson thought nobody noticed – its devotion to heritage, its righteous integrity, its creative spirit. Tucson was over the moon.
From then on, they were inseparable. Tucson lost interest in the usual things, focusing all of its attention on Ate and their downtown dreams.
It was going to be great, Tucson thought, just like the good old days, but better. The students will return, and not just on weekends to trash the clubs . . . people will lease trendy lofts from which to look down upon a bustling local marketplace . . . the streets will smell of fresh-roasted coffee and upscale fusion cuisine instead of car exhaust and stale urine!
Things began happening, fast. Overnight, proposals and budgets consumed Tucson’s world. Developers were coming at it from every side.
A few of Tucson’s buddies asked Tucson if it knew what it was getting into. Tucson gazed at Ate, and with a resolve only the truly smitten can understand, set about creating the vision Ate had inspired.
Money was promised. Deals were struck. Tucson embarked on a complete downtown rejuvenation. A new sports arena, an underground expressway, a state-of-the-art science center that would literally span the horizon . . . With Ate as its muse, there was no stopping Tucson.
But as plans moved forward, Tucson noticed Ate pulling away. The more difficult things got downtown, the more she withdrew.
Tucson panicked. It tried to rekindle the flame of optimism, bragging about its earning potential and bringing in investors to make ends meet.
It tailored its vision of a small-business community to include plenty of hip, trendy franchises to prove it could move with the times. If it could have, it would have gotten hair plugs and bought a convertible.
The crowning glory of Tucson’s plan to win back Ate was the reopening of the Fox – the thing that had brought them together.
Tucson waited with bated breath to reveal its first labor of love. Its heart on its sleeve, Tucson hung letters on the Fox marquee for the first time in 30 years: “Casablanca” – the classic tale of a love affair made impossible by its own idealism.
Surely, Tucson thought, once Ate saw the whole town turned out to celebrate her vision, once she realized the time and effort it had invested in bringing her concept to life, the magic would return.
Finally the big night arrived. Everything was perfect. Tucson donned its best bib and tucker and picked up a dozen roses. With a spring in its step, Tucson headed to the Fox.
Pinned to the door was a note. “It’s been fun, but you’re kind of turning into a sellout. Smooches, Ate. P.S. – Some bill collector called.”
Play it again, Sam.
Amy Lynn Glor (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Arizona journalism department.