Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

And we come to you now in the wee small hours of the morning curled up in a corner of the Phoenix International Airport.

I would say it's a "quiet" corner, but they're all quiet right now, such as it is, 12:48 am MST and not a soul coming in or out, despite the fact that I have situated myself nearest the international arrivals gate and the janitors and security guards pop their heads out in an attempt to look like they're working even though the only other signs of life are the rumbles of the radios to the left and the infrequent shuffles of a night cleaning crew buffing by.

It's a strange and deserted place and I have just chugged the entire contents of a Diet Coke fountain soda bigger than my head.  I have not had a Diet Coke in approximately 5.5 years.  This is a monumental moment.  But the fact that I am here with myself and my Macbook and an echoing Phoenix airport godblessedly hooked up with free wireless necessitated a trip to the only local food or beverage establishment open in this sleeping airport: the Paradise Bakery & Cafe.  And after two days' of consuming nonstop French Vanilla WaWa coffee, I couldn't drink any more java (yes, believe it or not).  And the Paradise only otherwise offered sugary juices and soft drinks.  So a massive Diet Coke it is.  Or was, as it's empty now, and my heart's rushing a strange unfamiliar rush, and I'm grateful my hands aren't shaking just yet.  That may come.

There's a great art gallery here.  It was pleasant to stroll in unseen and linger there, unbothered by anyone else.  The Pueblo Spirit shop is all closed up behind glass doors.  A shame, because I was really hoping to buy some fake Navajo shit to hang on my walls next to the animal heads and the tie-dye tarps.

I'm currently squatting on an abandoned Starbucks couch.  It's fairly lush and I feel somewhat subversive abusing Starbucks for their wares when they are closed and unable to charge me for something.  But a quick flirt with two young strapping bored-looking policemen proved fruitful; a few loose smiles and tilts of the head and they were the ones giving me the directions for illegal places to squat.  Amazing what a few feminine wiles will do.

And now I'll kill the next 7 hours with free wireless and possibly another trip to the Paradise Bakery & Cafe.  You may get a helluva lot of blog posts tonight.  And if that gets old, it may be time to chat up the janitorial staff.  A girl's gotta take her opportunities where she finds them, even if they look like a long silent stretch of the PHX Sky Harbor airport haunted by empty shops and emptier security lines.  I haven't seen that awful-looking Ben Stiller "Night at the Museum" film, but if I did, I have a feeling it might be a little like this.

Ciao from PHX, land of John McCain.


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