Let’s get a little personal and share some stuff about ourselves. I’ll go first because, you know, I have a column.
I hate being sticky. I eat jelly doughnuts with a knife and fork. That’s how much I hate having sticky hands. If I ever have to choose between being sticky or having head lice, well, I guess you’d better not come very close to me.
Another thing I hate is heights. I don’t mind enclosed heights, like airplanes or glass elevators. But lofty, open-air places where I could go temporarily insane and jump, or get pushed off by a pissed-off raven, well, forget about it.
You know those black-and-white photos from the 1930s, showing skyscraper construction workers sitting on girders eating lunch, their legs dangling over nothingness below? I can’t even look at those without barfing.
What does any of this have to do with Santa Fe? I’ll tell you.
At first, this seemed like a great city for somebody like me. There are no skyscrapers here. Nobody ever says, “Bob, come out on our tiny balcony—you must see the view from 46 floors up!” But it turns out an absence of tall buildings doesn’t guarantee I get to keep my feet on the ground. Danger lurks around every corner.
Years ago, l landed in Albuquerque as a tourist and took the shuttle bus to Santa Fe. It happened to be the Balloon Fiesta, and the bus driver was really talking it up to his passengers. Suddenly, he went way over the line.
“If you go, you should volunteer to be in a ground crew,” he said. “You get to hold the ropes when the balloons come down!”
Right. I’ll sure be doing that. I’ll hold on to this balloon that could suddenly start going back up again, and then the rope could get snagged on my belt, or maybe my hands are sticky and I can’t let go fast enough, which just goes to show you what being sticky can lead to.
The next thing you know, I’d be dangling a quarter-mile up over Albuquerque, and the dumbasses inside the balloon’s basket would be laughing and hacking away at my rope with a Barlow knife!
Some friends recently suggested going out for sunset drinks at the Bell Tower at La Fonda. No, thanks. I’d be the guy sprawled out down below on Old Santa Fe trail, with a broken margarita glass in his hand and a white chalk outline around his body.
Last year, an out-of-town guest showed me her wish list of stuff to do here, and I saw the four most-dreaded words in the New Mexican language: Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. I mean, the Wikipedia entry on that place actually includes a section about the “suicide problem.” Seriously.
I took my friend there, but I’ll never go back. I did have kind of a goofy thought while I was there, though. Wouldn’t it be weird if somebody came to this bridge, 500 feet over the gaping chasm, and took poison instead of jumping off?
It’s nice to know that even when I’m quaking with fear and spewing my lunch into the abyss, I can still think inappropriate stuff. There, that’s something else about me.
Robert Basler’s humor column runs twice monthly in SFR. Email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org