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First Impressions of Silver City, New Mexico, July 2009

Article By: JimAndrus

A reflective, humorous first person narrative of a visit to Silver City, New Mexico.

Submitted:Sep 15, 2009    Reads: 84    Comments: 2    Likes: 1   

Leaving eastbound I-10 in Lordsburg and making the lonely drive up highway 70 at 10:00 at night was my first clue that I wasn't in Scottsdale anymore. I had been excitedly looking forward to this trip every since my Scottsdale friends had so graciously thrown out the invite to this former country club general manager.
As I drove northeast towards Silver City, I reflected on all the changes that had occurred in my life over the past 10 months; the tragic death of my girlfriend, followed by the loss of my general manager job a month later, bringing to an end the fairytale dream Denise and I had had of starting a new life in Lake Tahoe, CA. Relocating to Scottsdale in November 2008, I was soon diagnosed with a severe case of Valley Fever which put me out of commission for the next four months. As the months continued to pass and a new job did not appear on the horizon, funds began to dry up, and I had to relinquish the condo I had leased, as well as watch helplessly as foreclosure proceedings started on my home in San Diego.
As I drove, these anxious thoughts plagued my weary mind and I truly hoped that this trip would provide some temporary relief from the twists of fate that had changed my life. My spiral into self-pity was suddenly halted by a white blur on the road in front of me and a sickening "thump, thump". There are not too many times in my life where a "thump thump" has ever been good news and this time did not prove to be the exception. A rabbit the size of Godzilla had seemingly thrown himself at my Nissan Xterra for no apparent reason, and I pulled over to see who had won. Godzilla had lost, but there was a piece of plastic ground effects that had come loose by the rear driver's wheel. I kicked it back into place and it seemed to stay where it was supposed to. I didn't go back to check on the rabbit as the sheer size of this creature was a little intimidating and who knew what could happen on this pitch black, god-forsaken road. The nature of the rabbit's attack had me surmising that maybe it was rabid or that maybe it was on a one man, or in this case one bunny, Kamikaze mission. Feeling a little shaken, I continued on at a slower pace but soon discovered that all Jack rabbits on this highway seemed to have the same death wish. As I was now traveling slower, I was able to dodge these freaks, but I did notice that they seemed to come at me in pairs, and I felt bad about breaking up what might have been a Cinderella relationship.
As I continued traveling northeast with a more observant eye, I noticed several road signs depicting deer with enormous racks leaping onto the highway. This cheered me immensely, and I began to imagine images of award winning photos as leaping stags jumped out in front of me and posed for photo opps. However, the further I drove without seeing these trophy bucks, the more disheartened I became, and soon surmised that the highway signs must be related to some sort of propaganda ploy designed to get tourists excited about visiting Silver City. I made a mental note to stop by City Hall and let someone know that I was on to their little game. As the colossal bunnies continued their death race, I made another mental note to suggest to the mayor that the signs be changed to show giant Jack Rabbits jumping onto the highway, armed with night vision goggles, ambushing tired tourists.
Reaching Silver City in the dark, I had this feeling that I might have a hard time finding my way. My vision is not what it used to be and at night I have a very hard time reading street signs. This was made much more difficult by the obvious shortage of street lamps and I made another mental note to give the major more helpful suggestions. In addition, all the street signs were posted in miniature and I further deduced that Silver City had probably run out of silver and all other metals and that the whole town was just a giant prop. It is amazing what thoughts can consume your mind as you enter into a strange town late at night.
After driving up and down the main drag and several minor drags, I finally decided to turn on what little charm I could muster and ask for directions. I pulled into a gas station, realizing that desperation must be setting in, as this is very atypical behavior for anyone of the male species. The lights at the station looked somewhat dim, but figuring that the town was trying to conserve on all natural resources, I parked and walked to the front door. To my dismay, I found the door locked and as I looked in the window, a lady at the counter waived me away with a dismissive motion of her hand. Bewildered that a gas station wasn't open 24/7, I got back into my truck with the nagging thought that maybe I had made a serious blunder in choosing to visit Silver City. I drove away hoping for friendlier turf. Pulling into the next station, I saw a lady standing outside her truck cleaning out the back of it. Fetching another glamour smile, I got out of my truck and with a friendly "hi" asked her for help. I was stunned when she smiled and started to spout all kinds of geographical information. However, my confused look must have alerted her to the fact that she wasn't speaking to the smartest broom in the closet, because she suddenly paused and then to my surprise, volunteered to drive, asking me follow her to the street I was looking for.
This was awesome! As I got into my truck to follow her, the old adage, "you can't judge a book by its cover", came to mind, and I smiled as I chastised myself for my premature judgment of the town. At the correct road, she waived and I waived back, feeling all warm and fuzzy over the hospitality I had discovered in Small Town, America. I knew then and there that my visit to Silver City would prove to be a good choice. I smiled again as I realized that the story of my first day in Silver City had truly ended with a silver lining.
Jim Andrus, jimandrus@gmail.com


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