Star Ford

Essays on lots of things since 1989.

An egg takes three minutes, except here

on 1999 April 20

[Note: I live in New Mexico, elev 5000 feet. You need to know that to get this observation.]

I have heard people say that a soft boiled egg takes three minutes, except at high elevation. These people were at high elevation. Do people at sea level say an egg takes six minutes, except at low elevation? No, because our point of reference is low elevation. Why is our point of reference somewhere else? Why can’t we just say an egg takes six minutes, period? People who have lived here all their lives do things that fail to make sense here, because they make sense somewhere else. They use a clothes dryer for 40 minutes when clothes would dry in 40 minutes anyway without a dryer. They have coloring books with deer and snowmen and talk a great deal about snow in December in school, even on warm days. They build wide open concrete spaces that might be appropriate for London.

Then there is the opposite: the chile and adobe look – trying to define “here” as something unique, something different from the point of reference, which is retained all the while. Long discussions of how hot and what color the chile was, associating a bank with peppers to make it look like the economy is local, making something look adobe without the thermal mass that originally made the material useful. All the hype about what is or was regional gives away the fact that the point of reference is somewhere else.

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