We sat in the parking lot of a Shell gas station in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Both sipping on Mexican coca-cola and sweating profusely. Even at dusk it was hot as hell.
To our left, lay California, a straight shot west. Directly in front of us lay the capital of New Mexico, due North. We were quite literally at a cross roads in a town called 'The Crosses', debating on which way to go.
I was itching for the sea, while my partner had his heart set on New Mexican art. We were two equally indecisive and stubborn people trying to compromise and decision make. It was like two empathetic mute aliens from different planets attempting to negotiate an important treaty by skipping around in circles at great speed to the tune of ring-around-the-rosy.
It was rare for us to disagree on decisions of spontaneity, and at the time we had yet to discover effective communication skills for such conundrums. Our usual decision making process of 'waiting for a sign' wasn't working. And the intense heat was making us tired and irritable. We were getting and going nowhere, with certainty, anytime soon.
Many hours and another few sugar filled drinks later, we started the van, heading North towards Santa Fe. I had decided I didn't want to crush my beloved's New Mexican dreams for the sole purpose of swimming sooner, I knew we'd see the sea eventually. So we added a slight 8hr detour to our adventures with the plan of driving through the night in hopes of exploring our destination at first light.
About an hour into the drive we stopped in a place called 'Truth or Consequences', the name was too intriguing to ignore. It was dark, empty and silent apart from some country music coming out of a building marked 'Bar' and the odd pick up suddenly screeching out onto the road before disappearing just as suddenly into the night.
I was pretty sure a horror movie I'd recently seen had been filmed there. We couldn't get any coverage on our phones to find out 'Truth or Consequences' murder rate nor the story behind the town's creepy christening. So we made up one suitable for the scene set and scardy catted right out of town.
We later found out the town changed its name from Hot Springs (much more inviting) to 'Truth or Consequences' in 1950 after a popular game show host, Ralph Edwards, announced he would air the program from the first town that renamed itself after his show, called "Truth or Consequences" ... Hot Springs took him up on the challenge. In return the show was aired from the town as promised, and the host of the radio show, Ralph Edwards, visited the town for the first weekend of May for the next 50 years.
More quirky than scary after all.