Gimme Some Weird, People

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Today I’m going to lean heavy on my New Mexico readers, or travelers to and fans of New Mexico.

Been feeling a little homesick, so I took to Google for searches about New Mexico.

Of course there are all the sites dedicated to the aliens, the cattle mutilations, La Llorona and the chupacabra.

And I find a LOT of sites that want to tell me how weird my homestate is.

Weird huh. Is it?

Hmmmm. I don’t think it’s weird at all.

I came across a list of “New Mexico Attractions and Oddities” and went through the list.

Honestly, is it just because I’m from there? I didn’t find many of these things to be odd at all.

Examples:

The Chevy on a stick in ABQ. Ok, ok, I remember when that was first going up and there was a hubbub, but hardly what I’d called genuinely weird.

And the big green dinosaur, also is ABQ.

But are these really all that weird? Or just…um…bad taste?

Speaking of bad taste, how about the scrap metal roadrunner in Alamogordo or the recycled roadrunner in Las Cruces…or the auto parts dinosaur, also in Alamogordo. Not art, but not weird.

Or how about the big metal glasses in Taos. I mean, it’s Taos fer chrissakes. The whole town is a half bubble off level.

Then there’s the “mysterious/religious” stuff like all the spontaneous healing at Santuario de Chimayo with the crutches left behind, the shrine at the top of Mount Cristo Rey or the image of Magdalena in the side of the hill in Magdalena (outside of Socorro).

All sort of your garden variety stuff, filed under “mystical.” But weird? Nah.

And of course there’s all of the natural formations: Camel Rock, Shiprock, and the Kneeling Nun to name a few. All fascinating works of geology, but hardly weird.

The rock formation that gives you the thumbs up going into Laughlin, NV and flips you off on the way out is WAY more weird than any of that. **

And remember when the Burning of Zozobra used to be kind of weird before those frapping Burning Man people went mainstream? Now everyone just thinks New Mexico ripped off the idea (we were burning Old Man Gloom first, you damn hippies!)

I dunno, maybe it’s just the desert heat that leads people to believe that the good people and place of New Mexico are weird. I suppose to someone who has never seen such wide-open spaces and deep blues skies, it could all be a little scary.

But weird? Pfffft. No way. I live near San Francisco. Now that’s weird.

Blame The Good Man for this post topic. We got into a conversation about why New Mexico put “USA” on their license plates (a vague attempt to get around “One of our Fifty is Missing” troubles, I think).

The conversation drifted into new slogans to add to the plate as we bandied them back and forth.

The winner being: “New Mexico…you don’t know who we are and we don’t like you anyway.”

They can take their “weird” and go jump in a lake.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

If any of ya’ll New Mexicans know of something really weird I’ve overlooked, let me know. I’m open to suggestions.







New Mexico sign image Copyright 2007, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the terms of the Creative Commons license found in the right hand column of this page.

** Nevada rock formation images from Life is a Road Trip.


Well whaddya know?!?

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My favorite source of material to lambaste has managed to write herself a decent article in today’s ABQjournal. Ms. Polly Summar wrote a nice (and for her, shockingly respectful) article regarding the Penitentes who worship in their particular ways during this Holy Week leading up to Easter. Some folks make treks to places like Santuario de Chimayo. Others worship in their moradas as they remember the origin of the Easter holiday.

It is an annual tradition dating back centuries. I remember as a kid listening to the newscasts each year telling about the people making the long trek to Chimayo, sometimes flagellating themselves or inflicting other self-pain. It is a long Catholic tradition with some renewed interest since the popular success of both the book and the movie “The DaVinci Code”.

I refuse to get into any religious discussions here because I feel every person needs to figure out for themselves what they believe and how to be ok with that. What I’m here to talk about is a New Mexico tradition that has memory and meaning for me.

I was pleased to see yesterday that the state has taken steps to make those that travel on the highways and roads a bit more safe (for both pilgrim and general traveler). I know in past years there’s been tribulations around this on both sides. Here’s to a workable solution.

Hearing of the New Mexico Penitentes puts me into the Easter spirit. It’s how I know the holiday is nigh. It’s been years since I attended Mass, but Easter to my memory was always a nice day. Not only did they throw the dark purple cloaks off the statues at church but we all got to get back whatever we gave up for Lent…which usually makes folks glad.

Then there was the singing of joyous songs. My mom particularly loved “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”(mind your volume if you click that link) and sang it in full voice all day long.

The aaaaaaahhhhhleeeeeeeluuuuuuujahs really got to her…and to me after several hours…..she loved them almost as much as the In Excelcius Deo’s from Christmas.

The weather in New Mexico was usually wonderful so it was great to be out in the sun. My mom always got both my sister and I a new dress to wear to Mass. Usually new white shoes too. My mom was, of course, a traditionalist, and so no white shoes and no sandals before Easter, so breaking out the white sandals was a new sense of freedom. Toes got to come OUT in the flip flops! Summer was near! My birthday was less than a month away! And I got to wear a new dress!

AND THERE WAS CANDY! And eggs hidden in the backyard. Easter is usually pretty good memories for me, and that’s saying a lot. I think as the years go by, I’ll hang on to the good memories like Easter. Seems healthier that way.

So this year, however you choose to enjoy your holiday, either by meditating, worshipping in your own way or eating ham with potato salad that looks like you dropped confetti in it from the colored eggs, do please have a safe and wondrous day (especially YOU, Polly).

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhllleeeeeeeluuuuuuujah!