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WIDOW MAKER: Hiding my disability from my community

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  • WIDOW MAKER: Hiding my disability from my community

    I write a regular magazine column for the village I live in outside of Albuquerque. I haven't let on to those readers, either, how much I'd been struggling lately. Here is a column from that fateful summer/fall. -D

    Busted! Pandemic Adventures in Los Ranchos

    By the time you read this, it will have been a full two years that we Villagers have been coping with Covid-19. As the virus winds down—IT’S REALLY WINDING DOWN THIS TIME, RIGHT?!—I thought I’d reflect on my own rollicky pandemic adventures. And then, as I added up all the times that I had ventured outside our comfortable little community of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, it dawned on me that this column might only be a few sentences long.

    Number of times I’ve left the state: zero. Dined at a restaurant not named Campo at Los Poblanos: zero. Crossed into the seedy* hamlet of Corrales: zero. Heck, I’ve contracted more urinary tract infections in the past two years than the number of times I’ve ventured outside the metro area. (Okay, I’ve had a lot of UTIs lately, but that’s an unbelievable story for another day.) It’s been virtually ALL Los Ranchos ALL the time. Which has worked out, predictably, rather brilliantly….

    My wife Laura and I have never spent so much time outdoors at our home, ever. And thankfully, friends and family have been amenable to joining socially distanced backyard gatherings (it doesn’t hurt that we live in the middle of the country in the middle of the city). All told, we’ve entertained more than 50 guests, some dozens of times. For conversation. For games. For convoluted, made-up games that involve alcohol—specifically suspect, dusty bottles of alcohol that had been left untouched for years, unearthed only because “someone” wanted to clean out the “godforsaken” pantry to take advantage of one of our 104 free weekends. Hence, “Rotgut Roulette” was born out of necessity.

    There have been other memorable highlights, like the outdoor wedding on our back patio, complete with the requisite wedding drama, made even more pressing as I was the officiant. Gulp. It nearly went without a hitch, literally. The betrothed had misplaced the marriage license! Thankfully, after an exhaustive search, it turned up in the least likely of places: the dresser drawer where it was stashed away for safe keeping. (Although I do not hold any other powers in this department, I do enjoy calmly taking the hands of two unsuspecting, unwed friends and watching their eyes bulge when I solemnly intone, “By the power vested in me…” Never. Gets. Old.)

    Then there was Laura’s 50th birthday party, which turned out to be a genuine surprise as Delta had canceled the catered celebration… that is before I sneakily resurrected it, only it was now BYO everything (including your own folding chairs) with a guest list that had been ruthlessly trimmed. To avoid looking like even more of a skinflint than Montgomery Burns to those who were ultimately invited, I arranged for something appropriately over the top: a full-on flamenco show. In our driveway. Under the stars. Floodlit, with amplified music. And to preserve the surprise, no neighbors were warned.

    So that’s how the Bernalillo Police Department became part of our household’s pandemic lore. You know you’ve thrown a successful party if the cops were called to your home when you live in such a bucolic, peaceful place as Los Ranchos. (Note: No laws were actually violated and no one spent the night in hoosegow.) Next time, though, I promise to invite our wonderful neighbors! It is another brilliant day in the Village.

    *Corrales grows lots of vegetables and stuff, which are produced from seeds, hence “seedy.” Profuse apologies if anyone from Corrales misinterpreted that statement and took offense.

    Dave Bexfield