On the third day of my road trip away from Las Vegas, I came to this little crossroads in New Mexico called Loving, near the border with Texas. On the other side of the road from these poor things was a warehouse, and not much else.
As soon as I got down sufficiently from road trip speed I made a u-turn and went back. I parked the car where it wouldn’t be in any photos. I started clicking. Everything was dry and dusty and the pieces of metal still hanging from the cover of the old gas station actually creaked in the wind, like in movies.
As I came back from taking pictures inside the house on the left, I found that two men had parked their humongous pick-up next to my rental.
They stood in front of the truck. One of them was a redneck if ever there was one. The kind of guy who could easily have been a mean-ass biker, but right now he wore a cowboy hat, a flannel shirt over jeans and dusty boots. And wrap-around sunglasses. The other guy was Hispanic or Native American, with a bandana tied horizontally across his forehead, right above his eyebrows. He wore a sleeveless flannel shirt tucked into his jeans, a big-ass buckle on his belt and cowboy boots. And wrap-around sunglasses.
They both looked like they ate babies for breakfast at least a few times a week.
So there they were, just standing, looking at me. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that intimidation has the opposite effect on me, so I took another leisurely photo of the outside of the building and walked in their direction, taking photos along the way.
As I walked past them to get to the second building, I said cheerfully, “Hi, how’re you guys doin’?” “We’re doin’ just fine,” growled the Hat. Bandana remained silent.
I took pictures in and around the second building and when I came back, the Hat had gotten a strange contraption from the truck. It was black, about 10″ wide and 7″ high, with a small screen on it and some buttons, and it had a handle at the bottom, like a hand-held mirror. I couldn’t help thinking he had gotten it out so that he wouldn’t look so silly the next time I walked past.
Maybe I’m wrong about that. But just because I’m self-centered doesn’t mean this wasn’t about me. Either way, when I had taken a last picture of the diesel sign, I said, “You guys have a nice day now.” I got in my car and continued on my way.
So tell, me: why were those men just standing there while I was taking pictures? Who were they? What was the deal with those buildings? What–if anything–happened there later because of my little visit?
Update: The next post gives the answer!