One of Our 50 Is Missing - January 2012

After more than two decades, thousands of you have shared their experiences of lost New Mexico in the "One of Our 50 is Missing" humor column. Tell us your experiences at fifty@nmmagazine.com.

Tourism BrochureNot Leavin' on a Jet Plane: Bruce Hamilton and his partner, of Santa Fe, were online booking a Southwest Airlines flight from Albuquerque to San Antonio, Texas. His partner entered all the pertinent information for the date and time of flight, and her credit card information (including her Santa Fe address). “It seemed as if all was well,” he writes. “There were congratulations for her continuing association with Southwest and that she was accumulating miles toward a free flight.” However, when all seemed complete, the transaction was kicked back, with the following error warning: “The billing country location United States cannot be used with an international State, Province, or Region.”

A quick call to Southwest rectified the situation, but without an admission by the Southwest agent that there might be a programming error in the system. Hamilton notes, “If they did not think that New Mexico was part of the United States, then it was their booking computer that did. Don’t you just want to ask them to ‘Please name the 50 states of the United States and leave out New Mexico’? ”

Out to Lunch: Stephen Hanks and his wife, of Taos, vacationed in New York City last December. One afternoon they lunched at The Wright, at the Guggenheim Museum. When the waitress inquired where they were from, they eagerly announced their home state. “Oh, it must be warm down there!” she responded.

Hanks informed her that they lived in the mountains, where it is even colder than New York. “It’s cold in Mexico?” she asked. When they again corrected her, she asked, “There’s a ‘new’ Mexico?” Yes, indeed. It’s a state between Texas and Arizona. Puzzled, she finally responded, “Wow, it must be one of those new states.”

Confusion in the 50th: Last year, New Mexico natives Mason and Regina Davis moved to Hawaii, where they are now working as engineers in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. During their first few months on the island, Mason worked as a shuttle driver for a parasailing company. On one occasion a customer from the mainland asked him if he had to get a visa to work in Hawaii. “I didn’t even attempt to explain to her that New Mexico is one of the 50,” Mason reports.

Another time a customer was certain that New Mexico had oceanfront territory. She and her husband got into an argument about it. Mason writes, “He saved me the trouble of explaining to her that New Mexico is landlocked. But hey, at least she knew it was a state.”