friends, old (2007)

albuquerque: next 19 exits

As my time in Albuquerque comes to a close, I’m hesitant to write a recap and, instead, offer this list of observations, funny snippets, and moments of finding peace & love in the small spaces.

BEST BREAKFAST
I can’t say it was breakfast per se, but Saturday morning Jake (my roommate for the conference) and I found a wonderful little French bakery on 4th Street, where he got an almond croissant and I got a pinwheel fruit pastry… both absolutely delicious, and it was a wonderful surprise to accidentally stumble upon the place.

BEST LUNCH
Annapurna, Saturday, with David, Christian, and Jake. We ordered what seemed like too much, but it turned out to be just the right amount of food. And then David bought us all cardamon cookies, which were divine with our tea. Yummy.

BEST DINNER
Saturday night, with Melinda, Jake, and Christian. We were the only folks left willing to drive to get authentic vegan-friendly New Mexican food at El Patio, and the small group was perfect for intimate conversation, sharing guava wine-flavored margaritas, and marking the relative close of a few days with friends.

BEST PARTY
While the house party in Placitas was pretty darn fun, I have to say that the gathering Thursday night in Nick’s room eclipsed it. Plenty of us camped out on the floor, sharing stories and laughing along with each other. I finally got to hear Rebecca’s story about Joey Ramone, Rick gave me my Rainbow name (Ultimate Bad), and everyone learned how much I really hate nature.

BEST BANTERING
There’s something about East Coast people that causes me to fall in love with them (OK, not in love, but definitely in like…). They have this witty (quick) bantering capacity that it’s difficult to find among Midwesterners or – gasp! – Southerners (who often have the linguistic speed of a box turtle). David and I have been bantering for some time now, but this year saw the addition of Christian and Jake to my cadre of conversation partners willing and able to enter the give-and-take of my linguistic dance. I foresee much snarkiness and sarcasm in the future, fellas!

BEST HOTEL ROOM FEATURE
OK, so the Hotel Blue sucked because they were bought out by someone else and are currently going through remodeling, which means there is NO INTERNET ACCESS in the rooms. Nonetheless, the Tempurpedic beds made it all worthwile.

BEST MIX CD(S) RECEIVED
Quite some time ago, I asked Eric if he had Dylan’s “Mama, You Been on My Mind” that he could burn for me. Well, he did, and presented me with that and more, including five live Dave Matthews Band tracks he’d found that aren’t commercially available. It’s nice to have friends who know what I like.

BEST DRIVE
Even though I was nervous about heading out to Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe all by myself today (the long drive was worrisome), it turned out to be rather enjoyable. I’m the only one of the group who’s left in town, and it was peaceful and pleasant to drive for an hour or so & enjoy my music and the solitude.

BEST BAR EXPERIENCE
Going to the little place on 2nd and Central with Bud, Alan, Christian, Melinda, Nick, Kent, and Jake. Despite the local woman whose voice was the most annoying one I’d ever encountered, we had a good time and I had a rather interesting conversation with two Air Force search-and-rescue team members who, apparently, get paid to drink beer and work out.

BEST VEGAN PAD THAI
From Thai Crystal, which may well not have the best Thai food in Albuquerque, but nonetheless we ate lunch there on Thursday and got dinner there for the house party on Friday. Yummy stuff, and the egg rolls were good, too!

BEST NIGHT TIME SKY
Hands down, Penny’s yard in Placitas. Everyone else had intimate knowledge of constellations, so I just kept quiet and remembered what it was like growing up in Texas, where I could see all those stars, in comparison with the city skyline of which I’ve grown fond.

BEST MOMENT OF RELAXATION
You’d think I’d say it was going to the spa, but you’re wrong. It was lying in bed in the room and talking with various people halfway through the night. Nothing better than just shooting the breeze with Friends Who Get It.

BEST NAP
Saturday afternoon, hands down. Even though it wasn’t that long (30 minutes?) it was one of those perfect power naps, where you go to sleep almost right away after getting so comfortable and then wake feeling refreshed and reenergized.

BEST DEADHEAD CAUCUS MOMENT
Taking the final picture after the last session. I’d only been to one of their panels – mostly because I was working on or presenting my own work! – but I was still greeted graciously and urged to join in the picture when I walked in as everyone was settling in a pose. Even though I don’t hardly self-identify as a Deadhead, I’m glad to be part of a group of people who are so welcoming, warm, and just darn fun!

BEST DEADHEAD PANEL PRESENTATION
Now, I only saw three papers, so I can’t say this means anything, but Steven Gimbel‘s talk was entertaining, relevant to my own tourhead experience, and rather engaging.

BEST NON-DEADHEAD CONFERENCE MOMENT
The woman in the audience at my paper presentation who said, “I think your interpretation is wrong because I don’t agree with it.”

BEST (POTENTIALLY) EMBARRASSING SITUATION
Realizing the zipper of my jeans was broken AFTER getting back from the Placitas party. [And even if no one noticed that: Christian videotaping me dancing while David was playing… we’ll see how embarrassing this is if Steve ever turns the footage into a YouTube flick.]

BEST ACCENT
Rick. Lord knows how crazy he must be driving people women down there in Tennessee.

BEST LAUGHTER-INDUCING MOMENT
Jake had been on the phone with his fiancee, Rose, and afterward the following conversation commenced:

J: Rose says no hanky panky in the room.

A: OK. I promise not to put my right foot in and shake it all about.

J: Um, that’s the hokey pokey.

[Insert gales of laughter during which I lose the ability to breathe and nearly lose control of my bladder.]

This shall become a running joke in perpetuity.

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