"I've had this conversation a few times before..."

[Post summary: Stay away from Alamogordo, NM. Just drive right through it. Don't stop. Don't buy anything. If you can find a way to make them spend money instead of the other way around, do it.]

"Say, do you have any demographic, er, musings on Alamogordo?"


"I mean, where did those people come from? Have they moved there from other states?"

"I get the feeling most of them are people who've been there for a long time."

"Well, I kinda got the feeling that a lot of them were from Oklahoma, or Appalachia, or the Deep South."

"I hadn't noticed that..."

"I mean, a lot of them seem to be hicks. No offense to hicks, that is. But, a lot of the Alamogordo residents seem to be hicks, and not the good kind."

"Well, I haven't had too many good experiences there..."

"Any idea why? Is it going through an economic downturn or something?"

"I don't know, but you aren't the first person to notice something wrong about the place. I've only been here a few months, but I've had similar conversations before."

Unfortunately, that conversation took place just as I was leaving the fine town of Alamogordo, New Mexico. This was after I'd spent a couple days and some of my money there. I had a bad experience the first day, and a bad experience the second. On the third day, I decided to get out of there as fast as possible before something else happened.

I first drove into Alamogordo along the scenic US82. It would have been a bit more scenic if I'd driven it earlier in the day. As it was, I drove through the areas with the highest concentration of highway-crossing deer at twilight, and by the time I got to the even more scenic parts it was dark.

I soon set to finding a place to spend the night. The former KOA campground on 24th looked like it would OK in an extreme pinch, except it was a bit more expensive than one might hope, and it was basically just an open, semi-grassy area divided into demarcated tent sites. Plus, there was no dataport, just an antiquated pay phone.

I began looking for something else, when suddenly I heard a snap and everything got blurry...

The frame of my glasses had broke, and it didn't look like something I could fix myself. I began frantically calling jewelers and optical shops until I found someone who seemed like they could help me. Which was quite lucky, considering it was after 6pm on a Saturday.

I'm not going to bore you with the whole long story. Let's just say I thought I was going to pay $30 to have my old lenses put in a new frame, but when I got the bill it was for $40. I felt like I'd been baited and switched. Perhaps I had been, or perhaps it had been me who'd made the mistake. Although, I'm very doubtful about the latter. After a bit of disagreeable back and forth, I ended up paying the $30, otherwise I'd currently still be in New Mexico awaiting my day in Small Claims Court.

The next day, I had an unfortunate incident in the local Wal*Mart. I'm not going to go into that at all.

But: if you trust me - and you should - it is my personal recommendation that you avoid Alamogordo entirely. Especially avoid eyeglass-related shops there. Especially avoid the Wal*Mart there. Trust me on this one.

On the other hand, if burning Harry Potter books - alongside those of William Shakespeare - is your thing, please move there.