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New Mexico Bound...with a slight lack of breathing

So last time I had just gotten us on the road to the airport for our most recent trip to New Mexico. You’ll recall that there was a wee bit of Sturm und Drang...sturmette and dang?...about our using a private parking service as opposed to the airport’s own lot.

That went really well, by the way. We just drove down 130, took an exit, and a few blocks on we were at the airport and the entrance to Park & Zoom, the service we were using. We pulled in. They gave us a parking lot number. We parked. The shuttle appeared as if by magic our car! We didn’t have to walk anywhere in the heat...and a very nice lady helped us load our bags onto the bus, and we were on our way.

I’ve been trying to figure out why we never used such a service before. Maybe it was just because it was never part of our culture. After all, we’re Baby Boomers who grew up in places and times when you didn’t fly very much. And in our childhoods, private parking services around airports weren’t that common so we never got used to them.

Or, maybe I was just dumb as a brick. Hey. It’s as good an explanation as any.

Anyway, we got to the airport. We checked out bags out front. We made our way to TSA, and, to our vast amazement, went through security with only a brief wait, and without a single complaint from the metal detectors. A short time later, we were on the plane and on our way.

We got to Albuquerque’s airport, a.k.a. The Sunport, on time and with a minimum of fuss. We were delighted to find that the Sunport was largely unchanged. It is one of the few airports in the world that I can honestly say is rather beautiful (see pictures below). It is open and airy, has some rather excellent public art, and is usually relatively uncrowded. It is one of my terrors that someday, some Power That Be and some People Who Know Best, will decide to improve it...and make it more like Austin or O’Hare...and ruin it in the process.

About photos: Three today, all from Albuquerque’s International Airport, a.k.a., the Sunport. First, on the right, we have "Dream of Flight," by Lincoln Fox, which is in the main lobby. Then, we have Martha standing in front of the statue. And, finally, on the left, a shot of the airport in general. You can see why I think it may well be the most attractive airport in these United States.

But, for the moment, things were terrific. We exited the plane, and began our Long March to baggage claim.

Now, a quick word about that way. We walked slowly. That wasn’t easy for Martha because she basically wants to dash, get the damn baggage, get out there, and have some FUN. But there’s a little difficulty. Georgetown, Texas, has an altitude of 755 feet above sea level. Albuquerque is 5,312 feet above sea level. This means that there is a sight...itty-bitty...teeny-tiny...lack of something called oxygen in the atmosphere in Albuquerque.

And, unless he’s very careful, your humble narrator tends to turn blue, fall over, and flop around like a frigate tuna in a boat bottom.

This is rather embarrassing, not least because I grew up in the Rocky Mountains, I exercise regularly, don’t smoke and never have, get in my 10,000 steps daily, and if anyone should be immune to altitude sickness, it oughta be me. Except I’m not. And my wife and child, who grew up at sea level, go bounding off like gawdamn gazelles while I’m doing my stunningly brilliant impression of Giles, The Garrote Boy, newest and shortest lived of all Comic Book Superheroes.

It was particularly annoying thirty years back when it first happened to me...just after we’d been on a plane and I’d lectured my son and spouse on the dangers of altitude sickness and what to do about it if it happened. Then, we landed and...oops...things didn’t work out that way. Oh, but they did get a good laugh out of it. Always glad when I can be amusing.

But, this time, we walked slowly from the gate (thank you, Martha!) and by the time we got to the luggage claim, I was starting to adjust. I was still kind of breathless for the rest of the day, but by morning, I was fit as a fiddle...or as fit as fiddles ever are. I’ve always wondered about that. I mean, fiddles and fitness. Whatever.

So, anyway, we were in New Mexico. And we were going to have a lot of fun over the next few days.

But we were also going to discover that, alas, the heat had come with us.

Stay tuned.


Copyright©2024 Michael Jay Tucker


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