The Real Life Adventures of Polar Sam
Episode #1-a Shootout at the Eco Corral.
Scene: A shootout on the streets of suburban Santa Fe, a couple of miles west of the Plaza.
Santa Fe: beautiful, expensive capitol of New Mexico with aspirations to become the sustainability and alternative energy capitol of the country. The City Housing/ Econ Development Department wants to maintain the quality of life and have affordable housing. The Mayor dreams of having the river run year round.
Kid Suburbia: Long time resident recently retired, has lived for 30 years in Casa Solana, one of Santa Fe’s original suburban tract. Currently fighting the proposed Northwest Quadrant Affordable Housing Development.
NIMBY : “Not in My Back Yard” the cry of suburbia dwellers trying to stop poorly conceived, or any kind of growth.
Doc Plaza: in his 80’s, a fourth generation born and raised in Santa Fe, Doc longs for a simpler, walkable, more affordable way of life. Santa Fe used to be a mixed use, mixed income, pedestrian friendly community with a plaza at its heart, where the whole community came to shop and hang out. Now the downtown is mostly empty of locals; it’s become the third largest art market in the US, a shadow of its former self; Still beautiful, but missing a realness, a vitality lost to a tourist economy, gentrication (expensive), and sprawl.
Polar Sam: A polar bear on a mission to save his people; selling ice cream, frozen fish and sustainability out of his ice cream truck….
Lowered Consumption, Higher Quality of life—a Shootout at the Eco Corral
At each other’s throats again, the two gunslingers meet in a high noon showdown on Main Street; Kid Suburbia and his NIMBYism glaring at Doc Plaza.
The old timer, now in his 80’s, weathered with the years, facing the younger, brash Suburban Kid. ‘I’ve sacrificed so much to be here, you’ll have to pry suburbia from my dead clinched fingers. Ya old coot, you don’t have a chance……I’ve been living here thirty, forty years, I know my neighbors, the trees have grown up, as have my children. My house has doubled, tripled, quadrupled in value…..get out of my face…..back off, this is THE AMERICAN DREAM! I’m gonna live out my golden years just the way I want, helping out in the community, playing golf, visiting the grandchildren……”
The old guy, hands shaking but still menacingly hovering above his Colt 45, starts off slowly, knowing the odds are in the hands of the younger man’s quicker response. “Yep, Fannie Mae, and the Highway departments and all the oil industry subsidies have made you a winner for sometime. And with gentrification supporting your back side, what kind of old fool am I out here challenging your hand?? Couple of things you’ve forgotten about though sonny; like neighborhoods with children, and the local Hispanics and employees have been pushed out of town, and are having to commute from farther and farther away.”
“Hey, that’s their fault, they sold off their homes, and made a bunch of money!”
“That’s not all sonny boy, your car dependant suburbia deal is loading the atmosphere up with carbon, and bringing on drought, taking out the polar bears, and done a big damage to our Quality of Life. Hell, most folks in suburbia hardly know their neighbors. Press the remote, roll into the garage, and turn on the tube!”
Kid Suburbia started sputtering with rage, spitting out the words, “Hey I went to work and was just trying to do the right thing, raise my family and all, and now you’re blaming me for the all the world’s problems! If you had any teeth left I’d punch em down your throat. I’m gonna fill you with holes, you stinkin windbag!”
Doc Plaza realized things were not getting better. “Hold on Kid. Yeah, I’d like to blame you, but truth of the matter is I didn’t understand that selling the home that’d been in our family for decades was gonna hurt so much. And anyway, how could I pass the house down to my three children? One house, one lot, three children!!” A tear ran down the old man’s face. But his hands didn’t leave their menacing position above his guns.
The Suburban Kid started to soften, but he knew the risks. “OK, it’s not like I don’t care, and this economy downturn is startin to freak me out….but you tell me, how we gonna get out of this pickle?”
Off in the distance a familiar sound came floating through the air. They both picked up the sound of the ice cream truck jingle coming off of Pine Street. ♫ Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don’t fence me in. Let me ride through the wide open country that I love, Don’t fence me in.♫
After a long silent icy glare, Kid Suburban broke the silence between them. “how bout I buy you a snowcone?”
“I prefer a Nutty Buddy” replied Doc, lowering his hands. “Eatin ice cream sounds better than pluggin your sorry ass”.