Today was a good day. Yesterday was a sad one, my first day driving from Tucson to Minneapolis. Until I arrived at Mark and Marla’s hacienda in Albuquerque. She and Mark are the best of people (I stole that from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who calls his wife “the best of women.”)
Marla immediately plied me with a gin and tonic — just what I needed. She also made a delicious dinner, which made me feel special. We talked and talked about our kids, grandkids, politics, growing old, climate change, sadness and life changes. I love these two!
Mark railed us with intriguing stories about the Santa Fe Trail.
So I decided to visit Santa Fe today. The first time in many years. I would continue my journey along the Santa Fe Trail, knowing full well that I would soon leave the Southwest, my home over the past eighteen years.
My friends suggested I visit their favorite Santa Fe bookstore, Collected Works, and say hi to the owner Dorothy (not of OZ). I always buy a book at independent bookstores. The historian in me chose the definitive book on The Santa Fe Trail by R.L. Duffers.
Walking down the street I eyed pieces of soap made into cupcakes in a store window. A young man standing there handed me a sample and invited me inside. The place was actually called The Lionesse beauty boutique. Not a soap shop at all.
“Don’t you want to get rid of your puffy eyelids?” the smiling blue-eyed young man asked.
“OK, why not. No technique has ever worked before. Go ahead, knock yourself out.”
Ron, his name was, took this silver-looking tube-like penis on a little stand from a drawer.
“It’s not botox, is it?” I asked.
“No, and it’s non-surgical too,” he raved.
He applied the stuff to my lifelong under-eye bags. Holding a tiny fan and a mirror before me, I watched the transformation. The stuff worked!
Then came the sales pitch. “You know, I’m not a salesman but you’re a strong woman and you should get this for yourself.”
“Yes, I am a strong woman but I don’t really need this.”
He went from a $999 price to $450, down to $199. Because I may just get a new partner, he said, without those puffy eyelids.
“I just want hardwood floors and a new shower curtain” in my Minneapolis apartment, I told him. (Also, one of those gorgeous Gudrun bath towels like my friend Carol has.)
“I’ll throw in one of those cupcake soaps,” he made one last try.
“Nope,” I said. “I’m not going to do it.” He wasn’t smiling anymore.
Everything is about commercialism, we had talked about just this morning. Surprise, surprise!
But I did need a Santa Fe magnet for my collection, plus a few other tchotchkes from the Five & Dime tourist trap.
Across the street was the Plaza, which I didn’t really remember. I came upon a food cart manned by Rico, an old native man and his sidekick taking the money and filling cups of lemonade. He reminded me of an Apache stereotype from the movies. You know, with a headband and long dark hair.
A man chowing down turned and said, “The last time I ate one of his carnitas was in 1992, and it was just as good today.” I had to have one.
Though sadness and change life goes on. History and the urge for adventure make it so.
Tomorrow I’ll drive through Liberal, Kansas. Not sure where I’ll end up.