I have recently alluded to the fact that it has been less than warm on my end as of late. In fact, if one were to judge by my latest N3S entry, one would think it was fucking cold. And I would be inclined to say that that someone is right. Lest someone call me on the "cold" factor, yes, I know that there are other places that are much colder. But last week we experienced a few days where the high didn't go past 30, and with a wind chill factored in, it was generally below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. So for us desert dwellers, plenty cold.

As a result of this most recent span of butt-freezing temperatures, I have discovered a fascinating aspect of New Mexican culture. We do experience winter, from time to time, but mostly snow comes and goes within matter of days. The climate is pretty mild, and that suits us fine. But introduce weather that extends beyond our zone of comfort, and all hell breaks loose.

For instance, last Thursday, it went down to about 10 degrees, we got some snow, and there was enough precipitation on the ground that, sure enough, the roads were frozen over. Instantly, alarms went off, important people began making decisions, and bam! school was delayed. I'm really not complaining here, as it got me out of my morning classes, so I had the whole day off.

And even though the day remained at arctic temperatures, the ice that had formed was clearly on its way to melting on its lonesome. You can count on New Mexicans, though, to not allow such a natural course of events take place. Within no time, people everywhere are encouraged to stay home, and not to venture forth in their giant SUVs that would no doubt lose control because no one knows how to drive in these conditions (thus, this was wise).

But rather than just let nature take its course, city employees everywhere emerge with bog-loads of salt, and suddenly its like a crowd tossing birdseed or rice at a newly married couple. Salt flies through the air simultaneously all over town, hitting the streets and sidewalks and doing its salt thing.

One might think that a little salt would do the trick, and that it would be used wisely and precisely so as to get the job done, nothing more. But whoever thinks that is clearly not New Mexican. No, the New Mexican philosophy of the art of salting is that the more salt is concentrated in any given area, the faster it works. The result is that the ice melts (as expected) at exactly the same rate were moderation employed, and lots and lots of salt is left all over the streets and sidewalks.

But Phil, what do you know about salting icy roadways, you say. To which I reply, I know enough to realize that large piles of salt, to the point that not all the salt crystals even come close to touching the ice, are probably not necessary. Instead, these piles of salt are left all over the place, so that pedestrians (such as myself) should later slip on the sidewalk thanks to the clumps of salt scattered everywhere.

So while the ice is gone, one must take care not to slip on the salt. Should you ever visit New Mexico on an occasion such as this, you may now consider yourself warned.