One of Our 50 Is Missing

Rueful anecdotes about New Mexico's geographical identity, since 1970.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK
Sue Johnson, of Roswell, was visiting Washington, D.C., when her aunt recommended that she visit a close friend of the family, who happened to be a North Dakota senator. Johnson dropped by the senator’s office and told his office staffer that she’d like to speak to the senator about a personal matter, letting her know that she was visiting from New Mexico. “I was quickly informed that the senator could not speak to me, as I was not a United States citizen and I would have to go to the Mexican embassy if I wanted to speak to anyone,” says Johnson.

DRESS REHEARSAL
While shopping for a wedding dress in a suburb of Dallas, Kim Smith was asked where she’d be getting married. “Taos, New Mexico,” she replied. “So you’re getting married in Mexico?” the shop employee asked. “Actually, I am getting married in Taos, New Mexico,” Smith clarified. “Oh, that’s nice,” she said. “Will it be a beach wedding?” Smith told her it would be in the mountains.

OH, BABY
Andrea Westwood, of Albuquerque, recently visited the Gerber website. When she clicked on the baby-food link, she was directed to a page with the following message: “Thank you for visiting the start healthy, stay healthy Resource Center. It appears that you do not live in the U.S. The content of this site is intended for U.S. residents only.”

BROWNOUT
For 23 years, Barbe Awalt, of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, has sent friends in Maryland a Christmas gift via UPS. This past January, she didn’t receive an acknowledgment, so she called to make sure it arrived. It hadn’t. Awalt tracked it and found out that it had been sitting in the Frederick, Maryland, UPS office for three weeks, waiting for a customs inspection. She writes, “If you know Frederick, it has no international airport and it is not a border town. So you might wait for a customs inspection for the rest of your life!” Luckily, the box did not contain perishable items.

NM NORTH
Toni Thompson recently placed a phone order with a national department store. The young man asked if he could verify her address, which was on file. When he got to the city and state, he said, “Rio Rancho, Northern Minnesota, right?” Thompson writes, “I had to laugh, and said, ‘No, New Mexico,’ to which he replied, ‘I never was good with those state abbreviations.’” Question: Exactly when did Northern Minnesota achieve statehood?

WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW?
Leigh Majors recently moved to Florida from New Mexico, and made an appointment to have her blood drawn. When Majors showed up, the clerk told her that they would not do the work, even though she had an appointment. Majors was perplexed. “We went round and round. I pressed her for an explanation, which prompted her to leave her station to get an answer.” She returned to tell Majors that they could not accept paperwork for lab work that was from out of the country. “It was then that I explained to her that New Mexico was a state.” She looked at Majors blankly. Majors said, “It’s like California, or Arizona...” She was perfectly silent for a moment, then held up her hand and said, “I’ll be right back.” She checked with the supervisor, who needed to look it up. After that, “they proceeded to process my paperwork, draw my blood, and complete my lab work without a hitch.”

Send Us Your Story—Please!
Dear “50” fans: Help sustain this popular feature by sharing anecdotes that you haven’t gotten around to sending in. Just dash it off if you like, and we’ll take it from there. Submissions will be edited for style and space. Please include your name, hometown, and state. E-mail to fifty@nmmagazine. com, or mail to Fifty, New Mexico Magazine, 495 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501.