Vernon, Texas

Last entry prompted a comment by my friend Mindfulmoon:

So, I have to ask… red or green chili with your meal? I got so tired of that question. I’m not a really big Mexican (or even NEW Mexican) food fan. Hot is not my idea of good. Strangely, I do love Indian food a great deal. New Mexico is not an ideal place to live if you’re not a chili fan (the vegetable, not the soup) which, I suppose, is why I stayed for 5 years. I’m glad you got to go to the monastery though because there are some truly impressive religious communities in New Mexico if the overwhelming majority are of the judo-christian persuasion. Also, I found the people in general to be some of the nicest I’ve had the pleasure to live near.

Yeah, I got asked that. I asked her, “What do you get?”

“Both,” she said.

I decided I liked this bartender. But then, she’s female and a bartender so I’m going to like her anyway. “Okay, both.”

And it was good.

I love spicy food. My favorite hot sauce these days is ghost pepper sauce.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not one of those macho idiots who are like, “Dude, pile on the hot sauce! No such thing as too much!” And then they drink five gallons of milk to try to get feeling back in their mouths (milk doesn’t do much against the Bhut Jolokia). No, that’s not me. I use it very, very sparingly.

Just the right amount (a quantity measured in nanoliters) of ghost pepper sauce added to food enhances it, gives it a bit of a tingle, like five hundred kittens are purring in your mouth.

Too much, though, and those kittens start hissing, spitting, and tearing at your mucous membranes with their claws and teeth.

So yeah, hot sauce is a delicate balance. And at least I wasn’t in Texas then, where they drink that stuff right out of the bottle.

Poor kitties.

I only got the “red or green chili” question once, being in NM for only one night. You know what question I’m getting tired of, though?

“Credit or debit?”

Argh. It’s 2012, people. We have Star Trek communicators, computers in cars, instant money transfers, satellites, the magic internet thingy, and there’s even talk about a potential warp drive. How come every time I hand my credit card to a cashier, they have to ASK? It’s even worse when I don’t have to hand it to the cashier, and there’s a little electronic pad there. I swipe the card, hit the “credit” button, and… “Credit or debit?” I get asked. Okay, I just pushed CREDIT. To make matters worse, the two words end with the same syllable, so if I go into a shop in Minnesota with my Virginia accent and mumble “credit,” they might even hit the wrong button.

Okay, yes, I know, there are debit cards that get used like a credit card. I even have one, though I never use it (no cash back rewards). Still: technology, people! And no, I do not want fries with that.

Now, I’m not shooting the messenger here – not mad at the minimum-wage cashiers who must get even more tired of asking that every. single. day. It’s not their fault. Let’s just get the technology up to speed, okay?

Speaking of speed (I was wondering how I was going to segue into this), I got pulled over today!

I deserved it – I was totally speeding. It’s the first time I’ve been pulled over in years and years, but drive long enough and you’re going to get busted for something, and I’ve been driving a lot. Only trouble was, it was in Texas. I hear they execute people here for jaywalking. One cop got all my information while the other peered into the visible sections of my car.

I got a warning. I don’t think they cared much about some tourist doing 9 mph over the posted limit; I think they were looking for other things and using speeding as an excuse to pull people over. In any case, no ticket this time.

No pictures today, though – it was a long drive and after the awesome scenery of northwest New Mexico, it was back to fairly ordinary ranches and cultivated fields. Not even any cool roadside attractions, unless you count some small town in New Mexico that claims Billy the Kid. I don’t. And tomorrow’s a long drive too, so we’ll see if there’s anything worth taking the time to snap or not.


About Waltz

An international man of mystery, Waltz is a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. Kind of a puzzle burrito, actually. With conundrum cheese and secret sauce. And a side of Riddle Rice.

Posted on September 22, 2012, in Food, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. If you are ever down New Mexico way during chili roasting season (roasting turns a Jalapeno chili into a chipotle which is more my speed) you ought to swing by Hatch (whose sole industry is, apparently, growing the best jalapenos in North America) and pick up a nice big bag. They are insanely cheap and, I am given to understand, make a killer adobo.

    When is chili roasting season? I’ve got no idea but you can’t help but smell it in the air as they roast them in front of every grocery store, convenience store, farmer’s market and roadside stand in the entire state. I’m sure the tourist board puts up something about it on the New Mexico official website.

  2. Still touring the U. S.? Sounds like fun.

  3. the credit or debit question actually matters… A lot of shops actually pay a significantly higher rate (like a 3:1 difference iirc) for running a card as a credit vs. debit, so if the card is a debit card, it would be wise to be sure it runs as a debit card if it is a debit card. Nowadays a lot of cards come with the word debit printed on them, but it’s not universal.

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