“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Friday, July 14, 2006

leaving las vegas

I've always wondered how I would react if I saw an honest-to-god UFO in the sky some dark night. Maybe I know now. Maybe to my shame.

As we drove around Las Vegas, New Mexico yesterday afternoon, I saw something extremely strange on I-25. Since no one else in the car mentioned it, I ignored it. I assumed I coudn't possibly have seen what I saw. So I suppose I'd treat an actual flying saucer hanging in the air in front of me the same way. I'd pretend it wasn't there, at least until it abducted me and took me to the planet the conservatives live on.

As for the strange Thing I saw in Las Vegas, the rest of the people in the car saw it a few minutes later. So: Now It Can Be Told.

We were driving back to Amarillo from Santa Fe. As we passed through Las Vegas, one of our traveling companions wanted to show the S.O. and me some of the historical sites of that town. We turned off the highway past a sign (which we totally ignored) that read "XX Base Camp." Our friend drove us around the plaza, showed us the Victorian homes, and pointed out the adobe huts along the Santa Fe Trail.

Then something very odd happened.

When we tried to get back on the highway, we found that the entrance opposite the "XX Base Camp" sign was blocked by orange pylons. And the highway beyond the pylons was (seemingly permanently) gated. The sign over the gate read "United States Border Patrol" and underneath that, a sign read "Mexico" and displayed an arrow that pointed toward Texas. These were official signs. It looked much like the bridge over the Rio Grande leading from El Paso to Ciudad Juárez. We had to detour back through town to get on the highway, and as we detoured we realized that the "XX Base Camp" sign pointed toward this installation.

So what the hell was going on?


Thanks to calamus venenum for clearing up the mystery. We hadda coupla theories:

1) While we were in vacation mode and ignoring world events, Mexican conservatives, eager to prove Felipe Calderón's "win" legitimate, invaded Nuevo México and attempted to retake the ancient city La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís. By Wednesday the army de la National Action Party had reached Las Vegas.

2) Arkansan National Guardspeople, appointed by the Emperor W to patrol the border, got confused. The distinction between Mexico and New Mexico has ever and always been confusing-- witness New Mexico magazine's perennial favorite feature "One of Our Fifty is Missing"-- and the Guardspeople set up their checkpoint on the wrong border.

3) We'd had a few more margaritas than we thought at the bar in La Fonda.