Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And now I'm back in Santa Fe. You'd think that because I am such a compulsive planner I would have timed my trips better to save myself the back and forth. It's got to be a good thing that I'm not, though. That's the point of all this drifting around stuff. I think.

I drove here with a guy named Zach. He goes to school in Tucson, but is native to Santa Fe and wanted to visit in order to consume as much chile as possible. I'm not kidding, his visit is based on food. I think it is a noble cause and I support it. Especially because his chile craving coincided with my need to get to Santa Fe.

Zach was by far my best craigslist ride yet. He's a very smart and progressive person, and we were close in age, so he was easy to get along with. I enjoy a good conversation and this was a seven and a half hour drive where the conversation didn't seem to grow stale or awkward. We discussed diet, politics, economics, books (though I don't think either of us has ever read the same book), movies, all that regular first meeting conversation stuff.

He actually began one of the conversations by asking me "What don't you eat?" which no one has ever asked me before. It was kind of funny, but a relief at the same time. Normally when a conversation veers toward food people want to know what I like and then they talk about what they like and sooner or later we're going to get to the awkward intersection where I have to explain that I'm a vegetarian. Starting the food conversation with "I don't eat meat or eggs and I avoid green peppers," was terribly fun for me. Zack doesn't eat processed foods like bread. He has a weakness for Red Bull though, which is mildly entertaining. I admitted my weakness for Twizzlers, even though I'm a no-junk-food sort of gal.

Now is a good time to mention that I am not a nervous passenger. I find that most people can get from point A to point B without causing a problem. I explained this to Zack as he explained that many of his passengers are uncomfortable. He isn't a tailgater, or an angry driver, Zack is a speeder. There were times when I looked over and saw the speedometer moving slightly above 100. This didn't make me uncomfortable because he wasn't being reckless or aggressive and he slowed down when he come up on a group of cars passing. I figured, if he gets pulled over, it's his ticket. He knows how fast he's going, so he knows the risk he runs.

About two hours south of Santa Fe Zack gets pulled over. He's been a very calm, chill person this whole time but he suddenly gets very panic stricken. He informs me that he may have a warrant out. Oh. Well. Umm. For unpaid traffic tickets and failure to appear. Phew. I'm so not about this guy having drugs or guns in the back seat. Yikes. He hands the cop his license and when the cop goes to check it, Zack is flipping out. I'm not a terribly paranoid person and I tend to play it cool all the time. What's the worst that could happen? The cop will take Zack in and make him pay the fines. Whatever. But Zack is sure he's going to get arrested, which has me wondering how much of his traffic violation story is true. It also has me nervous about how I'm going to get myself to Santa Fe if something happens. I'm having a right good time driving with Zack and I'm not in a hurry to change situations.

The cop comes back to the car and tells Zack that his license is suspended. I mentally sigh. I've been through this before. I hand the cop my license so he can make sure I'm not offering to drive with my own suspended license. How sad to say that this is not the first time I've been in a car with someone pulled over with a suspended license. When he comes back he tells me that my license has been canceled by the Arizona DMV. Um, right, haha. No, he says, it's canceled. ?!?!?!?! How is that even possible?!?! When? Why? He doesn't know. All I can think of is someone messed up somewhere and allowed my NYID to cancel out my AZDL when it should not have. To be dealt with tomorrow. How are we getting out of here?

The cop, who pointed out that he was "not a hard ass" (kthx) and told us we should go. He warned us not to get pulled over. Right. Ok. Awesome. But he takes Zack's license with him. Poor Zack, all he wanted to do was go eat chile, now he's got two more tickets added on to his list, no drivers license and he has to drive to Santa Fe in a state of paranoia, knowing that if he gets pulled over, he's screwed. He goes about 5 over the rest of the way. It became apparent to me that Zack has trouble driving without speeding, especially if there is decent music playing. I have that problem too, which is why I love cruise control. But I'm not a worried person and we got in just fine.

Zack took me to this place called PC's for dinner. He insisted that I was not going to the best places for chile and that I needed to try this place. The red chile there was bright red, like the color of ketchup. I've never seen chile that red before, and it was crazy-yummy. Just the right kind of spicy. Clearly the kind of place I would recommend in the future, it was full of New Mexican diner atmosphere. It had a large stone fountain in the dining room, which was not running, a wall of displayed dishes, a wall of old movie posters, and a half empty gift shop full of the same crap you buy at every tourist shop downtown. Ah Santa Fe, how I love thee.

After that it was time for me to head to Denise and Ray's place, where Monty gave me a wonderful welcome. I told Zack I would email him the link to this blog so that he could sue me for violating his privacy. He did actually tell me his last name at one point, but I forgot it. So here's his email address: Just kidding.

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