Wednesday, May 16, 2012

S. Derrickson Moore — Las Cruces Style In-line vs. online social networks LAS CRUCES — Not being a herd animal by nature, one of the things I love about living in Las Cruces is that there are fewer and shorter lines than most other places I’ve lived. And if you do have to wait in line, Las Cruces is the place to be. “Have you noticed how friendly people are here?” asked one of my first artists of the week back in the mid-1990s, when I’d just moved here. He was then a recent New York transplant and a member of a minority group who said he was not accustomed to friendly overtures from total strangers. I’ve noticed, I told him, and explained that some of my best story leads and favorite friendships began while waiting in line in Las Cruces. I thought about that during the last couple of weeks, when an injury resulted in more line-time than usual, and a cane and limp had me delaying line speed more than I’d like. Lines offer built-in conversation openers, depending on the theme of the line. Pharmacy lines prompt intense, if short-term, dialogs about the costs and quality of various prescription remedies, the length of waits, the best docs and clinics in town and sometimes, totally unrelated topics. At WallyWorld, I ran into a long-distance trucker based in New Orleans, who was replacing a lost prescription. We talked about everything from the Gulf oil spill to the joys and trials of long-distance hauls and the importance of God in our lives. Grocery store lines can be the source of interesting new menu, recipe and even dieting ideas. I’ve learned about everything from how to prepare bok choy to offbeat quesadilla fillings in Las Cruces supermarket lines, along with personal endorsements of yummy new items. During in-line waits, necessity can be the mother of invention and some fun chats and, as noted, breaking news. While waiting in a line of arts aficionados to chat with Clyde “Mac” McCoy about my best options for canes and walking sticks at the Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market (read about “Mac’s Stix” in today’s Artist of the Week feature in this section), I also ran into Las Cruces-based artist and filmmaker Ed Breeding, who had just returned from a screening of his latest film at a festival in South Dakota. In fact, lines and waiting rooms turned out to be a surprisingly good resource for breaking news on our ever-growing film hotshots. While waiting to see Dr. Stefan Schaefer in Mesilla, I heard rumors (shortly confirmed by proud dad Stefan) that New York-based Aimee Shaefer’s short film has been accepted for a screening in this month’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival. We’ll get a chance to see the Las Cruces contribution to France’s grand-mére of international film fiestas at a special screening here soon. I’ll keep you posted on details. I’ve learned what grows best in the desert in lines at gardening centers and found do-it-yourself ideas and numbers for reliable handymen and women in hardware and home improvement store lines. Eavesdropping on other conversations, I’ve picked up on common roots and met people from all walks of life and areas of the world. During encounters in lines around town, I’ve caught up with old friends, rediscovered long-lost buddies, seen promising acquaintances develop into burgeoning friendships and even discovered a few rare “strangers” who turned out to be soulmates and life-long friends. I’ve also experienced some amusing, entertaining, enlightening and surprisingly warm and profound exchanges with congenial strangers I’ll probably never see again. I’m way behind in my tweeting, e-mailing, and Facebook postings, but the last couple of weeks have reminded me that places like friendly Las Cruces can offer rich rewards for those who reach out off-line in real time. In fact, connecting with live human beings waiting in line could plug you into the most rewarding social networks of all. S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore ... or tap her on the shoulder, if you find yourself standing in the same line.

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