Then they might ask what I like about New Mexico. The first thing that comes to mind is not the scenery or the weather, I usually reply, "The people are so friendly."
Now, New Mexicans, and I mean New Mexican Native Americans, New Mexicans of Spanish descent, New Mexicans of mixed ethnicity, New Mexicans who are newbies from other parts of the country and the world, they all pretty much seem to be friendly - but in a most sincere sort of way. And it is contagious.
They are not friendly like "polite" friendly. Like those people who act all friendly but who reserve the right to hate you if they find out you do not believe what they believe or if you don't share their prejudices or their religion or are too poor or from a different part of the country or are gay.
No, most New Mexicans seem to be not only "live and let live" but beyond that have a sincerity that is both uplifting and contagious. They have no reservations about saying good morning or hello; they don't "size you up" before offering a greeting; they seem always ready to engage in light conversation and give you their full attention...not in a hurry to cut it short because there are so many things to do and places to go.
You're a man with a husband? Cool. You're from Connecticut? Cool. You like it here? Cool.
At the dog park a gentleman who looks native American, (though they do often say Indian here with no disrespect) engages in some talk about the weather and where you're from and you mention that you saw your first rattlesnake the other day and he laughs and says not to worry about snakes in the dog park but over by the culvert, they've been spotted now and then and he says his name is Charlie and his dog's name is Stormy and you introduce yourself and your dog...
Even at the grocery store, the produce clerk will walk you to where the horseradish is because "that's so hard to find, let me show you where..."
And when your carriage almost collides with someone going around the corner you find yourself apologizing, "Sorry, I know I was speeding!" and the person whose carriage you almost hit just smiles back and says, pointing at the little girl pushing the carriage, "My little one here drives too fast too!"
And when the lady bagging your groceries in the recycle bags you provided says, "I put all the frozen things in the cooler bag for you." and she stacks your bags neatly in the mini-carriage so you just can't help saying, "You did a great job." and she is proud of her work and says "Thank you, have a nice day!"
...and you feel something like endorphins in your brain because something just has happened like ten time this morning that used to happen only rarely in your previous life...but in New Mexico it is just seems to be
the way people treat one another...
Speaking of endorphins...my honey in his new shorts Boy Scout...uh...Ranger uniform.