Albuquerque is where ambition goes to die

Albuquerque is where ambition goes to die.

If you haven’t seen it in full force, you’ve seen hints of it.

“The Land of Mañana” speaks to the basic human weaknesses in it all– lackadaisical and whimsy seeps in and takes deep root as a motif of easy living. Stand at home. Smoke weed. Don’t care about anything. No need to follow through with promises or effort. Somebody else would have have flaked anyhow. Work just enough. The easier, the best. Lulled into a sense of entitlement and lethargy by low costs of living and an environment thick with people just the same.

It’s commonplace complacency.

So where does it begin? The question of causation, the chicken-and-egg logic, is never far from my mind. Does the inactivity come from living here? Or do you move here to become inactive?

I’ve often visualized Albuquerque as the basin at the bottom of Route 66 where things and people tumble steadily into simply by relaxing and following the soft gravity. UNM is the cheap and central Mecca of New Mexico– all the smaller towns of the state filter their children into a great anarchy of apathy under the guise of education. The uncaring beast accepts them easily, letting them flounder while six or seven years pass without notice. Once it’s over, the pomp and purposelessness of their education fades, leaving the squandered despondents to sit and forget in the laps of their lives and if nothing had truly happened. Many can’t even bring themselves to finish the middling tasks, becoming a new generation and legacy of American dropouts.

Our river valley lets others tumble into its depths. Low-cost living keeps even the most exorbitant ceilings low for those who migrate to the city with their Texas or California wealth. Even as the city’s poverty or disenfranchised collect and amass at places for mental illness or the APD to clear them out, so too does the conspicuous conception in the Heights or North Valley by people who just don’t care anymore.

Artistry seems effected by this. A small music scene, fueled by the few bands that come together and separate with the only such regularity that can be counted on. Gazing over the bios of community theatre actors reveal expensive or prestigious educations but yielding performances only worthy of the desert lull that sprouts like the coarse weeds after a monsoon. The embarrassment of the UNM Film Program spits out students versed in pretentious theory and distended egos in what effectively amounts as a degree in watching movies.

Maybe you were born here. Maybe you’ve made it here by mistake. Maybe you’re so new, you just don’t know the mistake you’ve made yet. Maybe you tried your hand at one art or another in bigger, more romantic places, only to ultimately slip back down to our basin. Albuquerque is like a safety net, one of low expectations and the comfort of universal indifference. If you return, don’t expect fanfare — only an assurance against effort. You know, “Happiness.”

The path of least resistance is one of inertia. It’s paralysis through indecision, it’s death come early, it doesn’t have to be this way.

If any part of you still cares, harness that. Get out. Get out while you can.





2 thoughts on “Albuquerque is where ambition goes to die

  1. I would go a step further. Its not Albuquerque. Its the entire world. Its the infiltration of the materialistic world-economy. Its the American dream to be rich and pampered. However, great beauty comes from great suffering. As we embrace convenience and shy away from even the slightest drudgery, the craft of our hands will become complacent, bland and artificial. Most of the working class spends eight hours a day in front of a computer in an office with white walls. Of course, thats better than working twelve hours in a Chinese factory for less than a living wage, which is how we support our lifestyle. It is really a living nightmare because the art of a people reflect their hearts. Its not the song, its the show; its not the movie, its the special effects. Whatever gets the adrenaline pumping in the blood of an otherwise cold and complacent populace. Subtlety is a characteristic of true beauty. It is a result of the absence of arrogance and self-glorification, but it is lost in modern dominant pop-culture as a result of everybody trying to get rich off of everybody else by advertising and selling everything and anything. In this game, the most manipulative entrepreneur, that is, the one who knows how to convince people they ‘need’ it and don’t ‘want’ it using shrewd psychology and marketing strategies, wins. Never mind the consequences it has on our mental health, or people in other countries, as long as you, your family and your buddies get to have whatever you want and live like kings; the American way. I don’t believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That is absolute arrogance. Beauty exists whether the beholder’s eye’s are open or not, and regardless of the petty judgements, insecurities and fears of the beholder. Lust and obsession are in the eye of the beholder. Let me explain; who would say that a sunset and a sunrise are not an example of true beauty, unless they were trying to be a contrarian, or perhaps they thought they were being cute or creative by “challenging the status quot.” Its all well and good to swim against the current, but one has to have a reason, so many people do it just to do it, then they wonder why its empty. Birth is the best example of beauty, there is great suffering on the part of the child and mother, but when the child is born and the mother locks eyes with her child, that is the moment when true beauty is revealed. True beauty is always validated by true love. Its a shame we have misused these words through the years. I’m afraid that many of our problems today have risen out of the misunderstanding and confusion of these two words, which represent two very real things. So, to recap, nothing is worth a damn unless you have to suffer/sacrifice for it. Ya can’t have the yin without the yang…ok, I can’t think of any other way to say it.

  2. Pingback: Albuquerque is where ambition goes to die | Tinseltown Times

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