I was thinking about the conversations we had during our trip on Monday and some random related thoughts. Most were related to the comparison of our home grounds in the mountains and high mesas to the environment of the city. Wanna hear 'em? If not, click on another web site now, 'cause that's the theme for the day!
First is the difference in the pace of life between Albuquerque and Lincoln County. All of us were struck by the undercurrent in most of the stores that I describe as "get there, find it, pay it, go"! Trader Joe's might have been the worst. None of us encountered rudeness, but the patrons of the store seemed to be focused to the nth degree on getting their shopping done and on with their days. This happens in the city, any city. And I've been part of it in the past, too. Now, however, I see this and I think "what is your rush???" It occurs to me that if you rush through a task, in this case shopping, and you save three minutes by rushing, that's good, right? But tell me this .... how are you going to use those three minutes? Even if you save three minutes five times a day, you now have 15 minutes, but how will you use it? From my own experience, you don't. Or you use it to figure out how to save the next three minutes. I'll bet not one person used that time to relax, to let go of the tension.
We talked about how people behaved in a polite yet impatient nature when they came up against a road block of carts and bodies. A few people said "excuse me" by way of asking people to make room so they could get through. Most people waited without a sound and without clearing of throat or other attention getting acts, but the expressions on their faces were "controlled impatience." No eye rolling, no frowning, but you could sense and almost see the tension in their bodies. In our market at home, if the aisle is blocked people tend to simply stop, take a moment to look around, or, as one of my companions noted, actually have a conversation with someone. Customers in TJ's were scurrying, darting around, having no interaction with others, including eye contact most of the time. Customers locally tend to, well, mosey through the store! Such a different aura!
The next thing we discussed is something I can't quite decide how to categorize. Attitude and friendliness? Desire to assist others? Knowledge? It's all of those. A few times we asked directions. People working in the businesses seemed to have no knowledge of the area. One girl claimed "I've only lived here three months." A couple people said flatly, "I have no idea." There was not an offer to check a phone book, ask another employee, anything that would help our plight. One man on the street did give us good directions. He said "I've never been there myself, but it is ...." I thought this was amazing. People must drive to work, go to the few business on which they rely for their own supplies, then go home without looking from side to side. It seems they don't look outside their own regimen for anything new and interesting. If you stop in almost any business in our area to ask directions or for a particular business or type of business, most people will give you directions. Or they will look it up in the phone book. Or they might say to check with George in the shop next door because he has lived here his whole life. Some people will lead you to the place! One exception might be in Ruidoso where many of the employees are college students spending the summer working and they may not be from here.
I understand that in a big city there is a lot more to know about, but when we asked for a business that turned out to be in the next block, and our informant didn't know about it, I just found that appalling. I've thought back on this, and I believe that if someone had asked direction of me in KC, I could have identified a place, would have looked in the phone book or otherwise tried to help out of towners find their destination. And when I lived in Albuquerque 35-45 years ago, I don't remember people being "big city-ish," in the way of relating to others, especially visitors. It was 1/4 the current size, but 200,000 or 250,000 isn't a small town! Perhaps I have always been more of a small town girl than I thought.
Lastly, the weather. It was unbearably hot there! Perhaps when I lived in Albuquerque before, I was young enough to be more tolerant to temperatures, but I honestly don't think that is it. I simply don't remember very many 95° or more days in the ten years I lived there. One of my friends speculated about global warming. We talked about the addition of XX square miles of asphalt pavement, concrete sidewalks, breeze-inhibiting buildings, etc., which have morphed over the years. Offsetting that you have the planting of trees and patches of grass in what was once a desert with mostly scrub growth, few trees. But can the plants offset the inert additions? I don't know. What I do know is that I am extraordinarily glad that I live on the side on my mountain!
What do you think? How do small towns and cities compare in your thoughts? What are your experiences?
And speaking of weather, it seems that our heat spell has broken. Today's high is slated to be 67°. At 8:30 the temp was 56°, and now nearly noon, it is a crisp 66°. Ahh. So nice! The next 10 days are forecast to be between low 80s and high 78s and with rain possibilities on most of those days. How nice! I'm all for that! I got rain again overnight, haven't checked the rain gauge for the amount, but it was a good hard rain at least for a while. It is so pleasant. I have five dogs asleep on the couch beside me, so you know it is unanimous at Chez Lynilu!
OK, I'll stop for now, because you guys need to get back to work. Shuffle that paper, sweep that floor!! Not me; I'm retired! Later!