New Mexico March 14, 2017
13 Things New Mexicans Do That Seem Insane To Everyone Else
We often adopt the habits of those around us. That’s true within our families, but also on a statewide level. These common behaviors are part of our collective identity as New Mexicans, so don’t expect us to change anytime soon. That being said, these 13 things may raise a few eyebrows with outsiders:
1. Snow shovel racing is a thing here.
The World Championship Shovel Races are held in Angel Fire each year. Yes, it’s exactly like you're imagining. You ride a snow shovel down the slopes as if it’s a sled.
2. We decorate our homes with these… although usually one does the trick.
Ristras are made from dried red chile peppers that are strung together.
3. We get very excited when it rains.
This makes total sense given New Mexico’s general lack of water but visitors from places with abundant rainfall may find our enthusiasm odd.
We also experience weird weather situations. You can often see rain falling over fairly specific places… like your neighbor’s home, while your yard remains dry.
4. Despite our enthusiasm for rain, we won’t drive through seemingly dry areas when rain is forecast. We are all too aware of the dangers of flash flooding.
However, sometimes there’s no avoiding the deluge.
5. If we’re lucky enough to live near an acequia, we show them to visitors. The correct response is admiration.
Maybe these just look like a communal irrigation ditches to you, but they symbolize far more than that to us. Acequias have been around for 10,000 years. The Moors introduced them to Spain and the Spanish created some in New Mexico.
Water and this system of sharing it is tied to our culture, history, politics, and communities. Plus, acequias can be surprisingly scenic.
6. Those of us who live at altitude sometimes stick our hands into pots of boiling water.
We’re just seeing if the pasta’s ready. The higher you are, the lower the boiling point of water so – providing you’re quick – this habit is no big deal. Just don’t forget and try it nearer sea level.
7. We get annoyed when people fail to differentiate between Mexican and New Mexican food.
8. We’re a bit obsessed with piñon nuts.
They taste so much better than regular pine nuts.
9. We engage in regular and lengthy conversations about chile.
And we purchase it in bulk.
10. We eat chile on pizza, add it to apple pie and cornbread, season pistachio nuts with it…
…We add chile whenever possible.
11. We’re happy to dine at gas stations.
Chimichanga burritos. Yum!
12. When we encounter a snake some of us stop and assess its appearance and raise questions about the snake’s girth or jaw shape.
Personally, I'm Team Flee. But some people are more curious. From a safe distance, bull snakes can resemble diamondbacks and, when threatened, they mimic rattlers. However, bull snakes aren’t poisonous and they hunt rodents - useful.
13. We like roads in the middle of nowhere.
Some of the best destinations lie at the end of dirt roads far from "civilization."
One person’s normal is another person’s weird. What items would you add to this list?
Since we’ve examined our quirks, let’s look at the
things New Mexicans will never do.