The streets of Santa Fe are a strange amalgamation, driving out into the desert and doubling back, then running into each other somewhere down the line. Some say that they are based on old wagon trails or cow paths.
The naming convention is not evenly applied either. A road will have a name like Cordova, and that name is good. But then you come to an intersection and suddenly the road will change its mind.
“I grow weary of this name Cordova, I believe I will become Armenta Street now.”
And there you are, hanging out on Armenta wondering what just happened to Cordova. This happens at numerous intersections around town and has been the source of no small amount of ire, frustration.
Given the haphazard nature of the streets, it only serves to reason that directions would follow a similar path. The lovely inhabitants of Santa Fe have a delightfully maddening way of giving directions.
Whereas I might say, “Why yes, if you would like to go to the cathedral, turn left on Sandoval by the First National Bank and then turn right on San Francisco Street. Go straight until you run into the cathedral. Can’t miss it.”
Someone here might say, “Well, the cathedral? Huh… go straight right here and turn at the corner where they used to have that one bar, but then they replaced it with the bank outfit or something or other… But anyway, turn left right there and then turn right where they used to have that old hotel but it’s not there anymore and turn right there and you’ll see the cathedral up there.”
It seems to be a contest among locals to see who can drop the oldest reference to the way things used to be.
“Yeah, it’s over there by where they were planning to build Outpost, but then they put a Wild Oats up instead.”
“Oh you mean over there where Oppenheimer parked his car so his kid could pee on the way to Los Alamos?”
“Uh huh, that place where the old saloon was where Billy the Kid drank a gallon of mooonshine.”
“Oh yeah, over there where the Spanish first claimed town for the crown.”
“Uh huh, on the corner where they the Indians slaughtered that buffalo and used every part.”
Even grocery stores do it.
I went shopping to pick up some overpriced healthy food at Outpost the other day. They seem to be doing good amount of business here in town because it had become necessary to create another parking lot. Instead of posting a sign that says, “Overflow parking in back,” they posted a sign that says, “Overflow parking in the old McDonald’s parking lot.”
My proudest moment in town came the other day when they tore down Fridge-Henge out by the dump. It was a replica of Stonehenge made out of old broken refrigerators. Many in town lamented its passing, a few promised lawsuits, and the uptight folks who want the entire town to look like a formaldehyde-preserved postcard rejoiced to be rid of the ghastly abomination.
I was sad to see it go, but excited at the same time. Now the next time someone asks me how to get to the dump, I can say:
“Yeah, you just go up there and turn left where Fridge-Henge used to be.”