Seems like it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on “What the Fluffy.” In itself, what the fluffy is up with that? Well, it’s called a jay oh bee, and it’s cutting into things I like to do, like write this blog. I’ve been taking advantage of working overtime to make a few extra bucks – and I’m not joking, it’s only a few extra bucks – but it kept the DirecTV from being cut off last Saturday. Well, it didn’t really prevent it from being cut off, but we did get it back on within a few minutes after parting with every cent we had left in the checking account. So much for extra bucks. Gotta have your 250 channels of nothing at all to watch. Who needs food?
I’m going to give you my “State of the State” address in just a few words. The whole state is on fire, it’s hot and windy, and we’re in a severe drought. In fact, I forgot how windy it gets here, which is odd because I HATE wind. I always say I’m going to find the one place in the whole of the United States where the wind doesn’t blow and I’m going to move there, only I’m not ever moving again. It’s so windy here – how windy is it? – they have a wind forecast every day on the news. They give a “Wind Forecast” for four periods of the day. Seems pointless, since it’s windy in the morning, windy in the afternoon, windy in the evening and windy at night. They tell you how windy it’s going to be though, so I guess that helps. You’ll know whether the fence is going to blow over, or just lean a little more than usual.
Here are some of the fires burning currently in New Mexico: “The Whitewater Baldy-Complex Fire,” the largest fire in the state’s history, burning 296,726 acres, which is 464 square miles (It became a “complex” when the two fires joined together.), “The Little Bear Fire,”approximately 42,995 acres, “The Blanco Fire,” “The Turley Fire,” and yesterday afternoon, a few miles from my house, the “Romero Fire” which is burning in the Rio Grande Bosque.
What the hell is a bosque, right? Well, let’s get scientific. We’ll go straight to Wikipedia, because everything on Wikipedia is gospel: “Bosque is the name for areas of gallery forest found along the riparian flood plains of stream and river banks in the southwestern United States. It derives its name from the Spanish word for woodlands.” Sounds right. We generally call it a river bank, but in the Land of Enchantment, about the only place you’ll find “woodlands” is on both sides of a “river” bank. I put “bunny ears” around the word river, because you can jump most of the rivers around here, or, at least, wade across them without rolling your pant legs much past your knees. The bosque burns like a torch, and the wind, well, the wind just makes it worse. What makes the fire really difficult to fight is that it jumps from tree-top to tree-top and the firefighters can’t stop the flames spreading from the ground. They’re saying that fire is now 80% contained.
What exactly does that mean? You’d think, logically, that it means that only 20% of the fire is still burning, but that’s not right. What they mean when they say a fire is “contained” is that they have a line around a percentage of the fire that they don’t expect it will jump. Unless, of course, conditions change, like heat, and wind, and bad luck. Lightning caused the largest fire in New Mexico history. They have it 60% contained. When a fire is 100% contained it’s still burning all the available fuel, just not expected to get any bigger.
Then you have the serious problem of erosion if, and that’s a big “if” it seems, the monsoon season ever materializes. The monsoon season is now, and we haven’t had a drop of rain, or any rain forecasted in the week to come. When it rains here during the monsoon season, it’s rather incredible. The ground around here can’t absorb moisture worth a damn, even though it’s desperate for it, so all the water turns into torrential rivers called arroyos. Arroyo is the Spanish word for stream. Actually the arroyos are the dry ditches that the rain water will run into and form raging rivers that wash cars, people and land away in an instant. Still, we need the rain. Our average rainfall by this time of year is 2.1 inches. We are at 1.87. Seems ridiculous because I’ve seen twelve inches of rain running down the street when I tried to float my truck home one day in April.
Speaking of driving, I’ve decided, now that I’m commuting to work every day, that speed limits in The Land Of Enchantment are not even suggestions, they are challenges. The goal of which is to see how fast over the posted speed limit you can go, without ramming into someone in front of you because you put on your blinker, which automatically gives you the right to change lanes in that direction – or the other- and the speeding car in the other lane won’t let you because it will slow them down. This morning, I sped right along next to a Rio Rancho Police car that was accepting the same challenge, I guess. They could easily make their quota for tickets on Paseo del Norte, loosely translated, the “ride north,” a six-lane roadway that connects Albuquerque with the “west side,” of which I am a resident, but I have yet to see a car pulled over for speeding on this ride east. Yeah, that’s right, the road goes east- west and is called the north ride. Okay, well, it is north of Albuquerque, so to speak. There really is nowhere to pull a car over on this bridge road over the Rio Grande though. The posted speed limit is 60, I drive 70 – because I have to -, and the cars fly by me like I’m parked. I’m guessing that the Autobahn in Germany is very much like Paseo del Norte, although I’ve only heard about the Autobahn. I’m sure, that if it’s like any freeway in the world, it doesn’t move any faster in rush-hour traffic than the non-posted standard of ten miles per hour.
Another thing I notice, is that a lot of cars in The Land Of Enchantment, more than any other state I’ve lived in, have a headlight out. They also have cracked windshields, just like I do. I wonder why that is?
Okay, I’ve exceeded my thousand words, so I’ll leave you with this question for my next story: Does an aluminum baseball bat make a bell sound when it bounces off of someone’s head?