It was a near tragedy. A family from Muncie, Indiana, was shopping for art on Santa Fe’s legendary Canyon Road last March when the mother suddenly keeled over from hunger!
Calamity was narrowly averted when one of those Canyon Road Saint Bernard rescue dogs showed up with a saddlebag full of Snickers bars. The family was then rushed by chopper to Kakawa for emergency hot cocoa and fudge.
Okay, this probably never really happened, but apparently even the possibility that it could has city officials wondering what we can do to help the hungry people of Canyon Road. Sure, endless art in countless galleries can feed their souls, but man cannot live on vivid pink sunset landscapes alone.
All too often, rookie visitors head up Canyon Road without adequate provisions to get them safely through the four-block-long trek. Their emaciated bodies aren’t even noticed until someone trips over them during the Christmas Eve farolito walk.
Personally, I have to wonder who can’t manage a simple stroll without food, but it must be a real thing, because the city has just designated two spots where assorted trucks may sell food and other wares for three hours each, before giving up the space to another truck.
Supporters of the trucks stress the need for food at a “lower price point,” but I really doubt whether shoppers on the most famous art boulevard in America are worried about finding a $2 taco while they think about buying a $20,000 sculpture.
Before you start in on me, I have nothing against food trucks. What two words in our language fit together more naturally than truck and food? These 21st century miracles can provide true religious experiences, such as the bread pudding from that French truck that used to be on Old Santa Fe Trail. It’s gone now, and I miss it every time I drive past.
But that doesn’t mean every nook and cranny in our quirky 400-year-old city is a perfect spot for mobile food, and frankly, I question the artistic passion of someone who can’t wander in and out of galleries for a couple of hours without a hoagie in their hand.
Canyon Road has problems. Sidewalks are missing in some places, forcing people to step into the gutters, and that doesn’t even count the clueless tourists who seem to think the entire street is a pedestrian walkway. City officials think the two chosen spots will be able to bear the traffic, but that remains to be seen as hungry customers vie with art lovers for scant sidewalk space.
And it is important to remember these trucks lack certain amenities we associate with dining out: upscale luxuries like restrooms, tables and chairs.
“Here’s your lunch, Lisa, Let’s just walk around and look at the beautiful art while we eat. Lisa! You got mango chutney on that $8,000 watercolor! Tell the man you’re sorry, and lose the smirk, young lady!”
Look, you know I’m a problem solver, and here’s my thinking: If we’re going to do this, let’s do it with Santa Fe razzle-dazzle. Let’s bring in that Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, park it crossways at Canyon and Delgado, and let the traffic just fend for itself.
That isn’t a permanent solution—the Wienermobile has other important places to be—but at least it will hold us until we can convert the Ernesto Mayans Gallery into a Dunkin’ Donuts.
Like I said, I solve problems.
Robert Basler’s humor column runs twice monthly in SFR. Email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org