A summary of a report, titled El Paso Downtown Perceptions 2011 Survey, was presented at the Downtown Management District board of directors meeting. They were all in agreement that the survey "Sure did have a lot of words," and "Do we really have to read it?"
Before it becomes available to the public, it will first be presented to City Council, just as soon as they're done persecuting Pastor Tom Brown.
Like our elected officials, I don't need to read the report to have an opinion about it. I have my own bad impressions of Downtown El Paso (I swear, I thought that girl was just asking me for a ride. I didn't know she was an undercover police officer. Honest.), so I went there myself to talk to the common person and get their perspective.
"Why don't you come Downtown?" I asked a lady, outside of what used to be the White House Department Store.
"Uh, I am Downtown," she answered.
Okay, bad example. I walked over to the Palace Theater, only to discover that it closed years ago. What happened to that beautiful, old movie theater where they used to show classic adult movies? Why am I always the last to know?
Well, no point in hanging around here anymore, so I went to where the majority of El Pasoans usually go. The mall. You know why I went to the mall?
"So, why don't you shop Downtown?" I asked a high school girl.
"We have a Downtown?" she squeeled. "Where is it?"
"It's, uh, Downtown."
The next person I asked was a little more knowledgeable.
"I don't go Downtown," he told me, "because it's a pit. The traffic's bad. The parking's worse. The only thing worse than the roads are the drivers on the roads. And don't get me started on El Paso drivers. The only thing worse than an El Paso driver is an El Paso driver driving Downtown. To be honest, I wouldn't go Downtown at all, except I work there."
"Thanks, Mayor Cook."
After an afternoon of questioning people, I can safely say that older people tend to avoid Downtown El Paso because they want to continue living. Younger shoppers, well, they avoid it because shopping there seems too much like work. Besides, they'd rather overpay for clothing that turns them into walking advertisements for brand names.
What was really surprising were the misconceptions El Pasoans had about Downtown. One young man I spoke with believed Downtown was a part of Mexico. Funny, but I've always thought so, too. Another young man thought if you came too close to Downtown the gravitational pull is so great that you'd be sucked into a Brown Hole and spat out in Segunado Barrio. Then again, maybe he was talking about the Old Plantation, El Paso's premiere gay nightclub. And still another young man thought that's where the chupacabra lived.
"No," I told him, "those are just the shoppers."
A girl I spoke with said she hated to go Downtown because "only poor guys go there."
"That's not true," I told her. "Downtown is full of businessmen, lawyers, and those unfortunate enough to be called for jury duty."
"Do they have money?"
"I'm sure some of them do."
She thought awhile. "Then I would love to go Downtown."
Fifty Shades of Funny