We asked our Facebook fans to share whether they had experienced any “Missing” moments. Hundreds posted their stories. Here are a few.
Mary Wagstaff Datwyler: While I was working at the JCPenney Call Center in Rio Rancho many years ago, a woman I was helping (who had a thick Southern drawl) asked where I was located. When I told her New Mexico, she laughed, slowed her speech, and spoke louder.“What a great command of the English language you have,” she said. “You must have studied very hard to speak so clearly. And it’s a shame you have to work; you have such beautiful beaches there.” Wait. Beaches? Where? Here?
Lorena Mims: I was working at a call center for AT&T, and all of the customers kept insisting that I transfer them to someone in the States—or complimented me on my English after I informed them that I was located in New Mexico. I even had one man yell at me for lying about being in the United States.
Candace Martinez: A doctor’s office in Florida didn’t want to accept my daughter’s insurance because it wasn’t from the United States. My daughter could not convince them that New Mexico was a state. I guess we need to carry a map of the U.S. when we travel in our own country.
Jim Veatch: When we were getting ready to move to New Mexico and looking for a physician referral, I was told, “Dr. X wouldn’t know any doctors outside the United States.”
Deborah Hewitt: When I got accepted to the UNM Medical School, I was finishing college in New Jersey. I don’t know how many times I was told to wait and reapply next time to a U.S. medical school.
David Annis: I graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute with my associate’s degree along with my commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. After I returned from active duty, during an interview I was asked, “Why did you choose to join the Mexican Army as an officer and not serve your own country?” Really? I then proceeded to give them a lesson in history—the national labs, Trinity test, Roswell Army Air Field, White Sands Missile Range, Kirtland Air Force Base, etc. Jeez.
Richard Best: When I first moved to Houston, the lady at the apartment building I was moving into looked at my New Mexico license and said, “That is going to be a long commute back and forth to Mexico, isn’t it?”
Yeyo Zion: I live in Chicago and went back home to New Mexico. When I came back to work, I was asked, “How was your trip to Mexico?” I explained that I had gone back home to New Mexico. “Oh,” my co-worker replied, followed by the mother of all questions: “What’s the difference between New Mexico and Mexico?” I informed this person that Mexico is a country, and New Mexico is a state of the USA. They replied with “No wonder you speak such good English.” I just smiled and went back to work. Silence is golden.
Sarah Chester: I lived in Chicago when my first son was born. A lady came in to take down all our information for his birth certificate. She asked where I was born, and I said, “Las Cruces, New Mexico.” She continued to ask Mexico-related questions, like “Are you a U.S. citizen?” I had to repeatedly tell her, no, New Mexico is in the United States. She actually responded with “Oh, I’ve never heard of it.” So, under “mother’s birthplace” on my son’s birth certificate, it says, “Unknown, New Mexico.”
John Preston: Just recently, my auto insurance was canceled when I gave them notice that I was moving back to New Mexico. After inquiring why, they replied, “We don’t cover Mexico.”
Margarita Paz-Pedro: I traveled to Paris via the United Kingdom, and my baggage got lost. It was found, but because they couldn’t get it to me in Paris, they sent it “home” to Mexico—even though it clearly said New Mexico, USA. I never saw it again.
Amy Shaffer Putnam: In 1978 my husband and I applied for a mortgage in Houston. It was held up for six weeks because his student loan was from a “foreign country.” He had a loan from UNM. The loan officer just didn’t know how to handle our situation. Once he received a geography lesson, the mortgage was approved that day.
HAVE A “MISSING” MOMENT?
Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Fifty, New Mexico Magazine, 495 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Include your name, hometown, and state. Thanks!