By Allen Ginnett
If you were to ask me to describe Anchorage, Alaska in one sentence, with no hesitation I would respond, “Imagine a hundred thousand Chevy Tahoes.” To put it perspective, take away all preconceived notions of Alaska and imagine a transparent box of metal and glass with no blind spot vision. Combine these elements with a dolly and I can take any car I want. This is power in the black market of bartering off the internet; that’s just an example. The Tahoe is an asset, an advantage, a tool to live life to the fullest in a extreme climate like Alaska. Today I’m located in the most populated area furthest west before you hit the east, the city of a quarter million plus some, Anchorage, Alaska.
Philosophically, Alaska is a utopia. An American state with the spirit of freedom; Titled the last frontier; completely surrounded by mountains, Anchorage is a bowl of width. A grid as wide as New York City and as short as Reno, Nevada. A city with a small town feel, and I have been fortunate enough to grow up in this rare, mysterious place. The origin of me finding myself in this place was the Seattle economy tanking and my Dad’s family moving up here. My Dad met my Mom, who had come up here through the military. The definition of the American Dream; through working hard my parents afforded to give me a blessed life. I have the choice to do whatever I want. Except one thing is different compared to most American kids, I’m from Anchorage, Alaska. I’m disconnected from the rest of the United States. I am part of an American experiment; and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Anchorage is the most diverse community in America according to CNN. The United States of America is host to every country’s immigrants. In Anchorage you’ll find Whites, Blacks, Asians, Spanish, Polynesians, Africans, Arabs, Russians; Any person you can think of, we got it. We even have Alaskan Native people, which is another story by itself but we won’t get into that right now; this is about Anchorage, Alaska’s biggest city. Anchorage is a city that is always moving like the mind, in different directions. Unpredictable like the atmosphere, the city is divided into pieces of pie featuring no suburbs but one giant grid- in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains. As I drive around during break up season, I see a dirty snow crust caked up on everything imaginable. The trees are tall and abundant. The air is fresh and easy to inhale. I can look in any direction and see a beautiful painting out of a museum. The animals roam freely; From giant moose to wild bears, this isn’t just an area inhabited by humans. The fish swim up the stream; the birds perch on a branch high up in a tree, the wolves lurk around on the ground; And the mosquitos sting with persistence. Alaska is alive.
When I express one hundred thousand Tahoes to describe Anchorage, I’m attempting to articulate the advanced civilization I live in. In Europe or Asia, the biggest engine you can acquire in a sport utility vehicle is five liters. This is America, we’ve got big box chevys with big V8 powerhouses under the hood. The Tahoe embodies the Alaskan spirit; a giant powerful box on wheels ripping through the treacherous terrain. Big speakers and big wheels because everything Alaskans do is big; Alaska is the biggest state in the union. A lot of wild activities have been exercised in these monsters we call vehicles. It’s the Wild West and only the craziest of people make it all this way Westward.
If you are from Anchorage then most likely you have a friend who is on the run. You probably have a friend who’s addicted to drugs; a couple in jail. Now, this is nothing new to the American experience, but imagine no separation between citizens and criminals. Alaska has the highest crime rate per capita according to the FBI. In my opinion the majority of people I meet up here are either a blue or white collar criminal, there is no inbetween. Money has been flowing through this place essively since they built the oil pipeline in the seventies. Vice is a major problem due to isolation and lack of things to do. Our position on the globe provides us with seven months of pure darkness in the winter time. Drug prices are the highest in America because the separation making more of a risk for smugglers. We have some of highest rates of DUIs (Driving Under The Influence) in America. Guns are plentiful and politicians keep the class system alive. It’s a perfect example of democratic freedom.
Out of all hundred thousand Tahoes, you must understand there are over 30 years of Tahoes, Suburbans, Escalades, Expeditions, Explorers, Blazers, Broncos and countless other sport utility vehicles scattered across Anchorage. Not to mention the trucks as well. So if you really think about it, a hundred thousand Tahoes is more of an idea, than an estimate of how many large vehicles with big engines are traveling through the city of Anchorage. It’s the idea of taking care of business in 2018. Anchorage is the embodiment of progressive thinking. Wherever you go on Earth, the Chevrolet Tahoe is respected. In Africa and South America they are used for official transport. But in Muldoon, a small neighborhood on the outskirts of East Anchorage, you might find one yokin’ a donut in the movie theatre parking lot playing some Mac Dre extremely loud out of six 12 inch speakers sitting tall on 28 inch wheels, lifted with dual exhaust- candy painted purple, you dig!?
Allen Ginnett is a creative writer born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He lives life freely, finding sources of expression naturally. Past times of his include sports, music and painting.