…or, “A funny thing happened on the way to Albuquerque. And then it just kept getting funnier.” And it started with a snake bite.

The road up out of Big Bend National Park in Texas is a long, two-lane country highway. The speed limit is 75mph, but as I was the only one on the road most of the time as far as I could see in both directions, I was doing about 60 (that’s around 100kph for those of you who measure things with sensible measuring sticks). Mostly the road has only long, gentle curves in it, though it has some slight dips here and there for the arroyos to run across the road in a more orderly fashion. Somewhere between Big Bend and Nowhereville, Texas, as I approached one of those dips, I saw A GIANT PINK SNAKE crossing the road!

Now, when I say “GIANT”, I mean if it were stretched out rather than being all crawly-snakey, it would have easily been as long as my lane was wide. And when I say “PINK”, I mean like Grandma’s Coral Lipstick, that color pink (i.e. not an albino).

The snake was crossing from left to right, and had already made it most of the way across my lane, so I eased Gypsy left-ward into the lane for oncoming traffic so as to avoid the GIANT PINK SNAKE in the road.

Just as I got up close to where the GIANT PINK SNAKE was, I saw it rear up, look back over its back, and just as Gypsy’s hood was about to block my view of the GIANT PINK SNAKE, it *struck*!

Holy.

Shit.

*thump*

I heard it strike the right front fender. I didn’t even know what to say about that.

For about one nanosecond, I considered stopping to get out and take a picture, but something grabbed my brain and shook some sense into it. It was the rear-view mirror.

I never saw the GIANT PINK SNAKE in the rear-view after I passed.

No guts. No flying corpse. No writhing injured Masticophis flagellum in the road.

That snake was GIANT, did I mention? And mean enough to strike a 2001 VW Passat doing 100kph. If it survived that, I didn’t want no damned part of no GIANT PINK SNAKE.

I drove on.

I got to the first gas station, parked, and waited a minute before opening the driver’s door, I ain’t even gonna lie. Seeing no GIANT PINK SNAKE slither out from under her, I got out of Gypsy, gave her front end a wide berth, and checked out the passenger’s side fender. Gypsy’s no spring chicken, so seeing some scratches on the fender isn’t really evidence of anything other than Gypsy’s no spring chicken.

But y’know what else I didn’t see?

Snake guts.

Did I get down and look up under her for the GIANT BADASS PINK SNAKE?

Fuck no, I didn’t. Don’t be stupid.

I got gas and drove to fuckin’ Albuquerque, that’s what I fuckin’ did.

I found Becky!

I have a dear friend, Becky, who I met at The Rose Marie a few years ago. She travels like I do, but does a whole lot more hiking and stuff. She was in Albuquerque house-sitting for some friends, so that’s where I was going to visit.

Did you know Albuquerque is as high as Denver? Neither did I.

So going from 45C to 45F in the course of a day was a bit of a surprise. Well, it was a shock, really. I was expecting “desert” in the classic old-west sense, and it turns out to be true, just the high desert, that isn’t as ridiculously hot as what I was expecting. I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around that whole “cold in Albuquerque New Mexico” thing.

So that was weird.

My first full day in Albuquerque, I went to Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center to visit with Hunter, who you might remember from Abrams Creek. Hunter was pretty busy helping to get the new store in working order, so after a quick hello and a promise to catch up at Sex Geek Summer Camp in a few weeks, she went back to work and I hung out a bit with Matie and a lovely person working on their laptop in the store.

Funny thing was, that very lovely person bore a striking resemblance to someone I know but with whom I haven’t spoken in far too long – so much so, that the more we spoke, the more I wanted to look for distinguishing tattoos, just to make sure.

Same mannerisms, same laugh, same smile, and with the store-front window at my back, when the light caught in those eyes, ….

It was weird to randomly run into the doppelganger of someone I once knew so very well. Either that, or it was weird to randomly run into someone I once knew so very well who wanted to start with a fresh meeting so much, they introduced themselves at the end with an entirely new name and identity. Or my brain was seeing exactly what it wanted to see, and was happy to alter my sense of reality to a rather extreme extent. Take your pick, it seems the odds of any of those are so remote as to be untenable. I’m not betting on any of the above.

So that was weird.

Sandia Crest Panorama

The next day, Becky took me to the top of Sandia Crest, overlooking Albuquerque. Sandia Crest stands another mile (roughly a kilometer and a half) higher, and there’s a wonderful view of the city below. It was the highest I think I’ve ever been above sea level with my feet still on the ground. There was snow on the nature trail we walked on for a little while, and again the weirdness of it all really struck me.

When we got back down to the city, I took a shot looking back up at where we’d just been. The thing that really struck me about Albuquerque was this: people are just going about their business, doing stuff.

They’re going to work. They’re buying groceries. They’re going to the DMV. Just stuff.

It’s true that people get used to anything, and take stuff for granted all the time, including me, of course. But it really hit me that people in Albuquerque, New Mexico are not stopping at every single red light to get out of their cars and just look.

It was weird.

I said my goodbyes to Becky on a Thursday morning, and headed for the Petrified Forest in the Painted Desert, on my way toward the Grand Canyon.

Then things got even weirder still.

But that’s a story for another blog post.

’til then….

 

xoxo

Louis