Caroline Jaramillo-Crone of Española shares the following story. After her niece moved to Lansing, Michigan, she made it a priority to get her driver’s license. She brought her Social Security card and her up-to-date, valid NM license, along with the processing fee, which the secretary of state’s website stated was all she needed.

The clerk insisted that she had to take both the written and driving test, because she was from Mexico. Caroline’s niece went through the usual routine of explaining that New Mexico is one of the 50 United States. The clerk would not relent, so Anna Marie asked to speak to the clerk’s supervisor, who fortunately was better educated and instructed the clerk to issue the license already.

Deborah Rose Herrera of Taos downloaded the PBS television app to her tablet from the Google Play store. After downloading, she clicked on the app and got the following message: ”Warning! We’re sorry, but you appear to be outside of the United States. Due to our limited streaming rights, not all of our content is available outside the United States.”

She was prompted to click the “OK” button, but instead wished she could select the following reply: “Um, not OK. File this one under ‘fail.’ I live in beautiful Taos, New Mexico, USA. It’s that big square between Texas and Arizona, and south of Colorado. Stop when you smell the aromas of green chile roasting, and smoke from chimneys, because we are at 7,000 feet elevation and it gets cold here, even during the summer months. If you go too far south and find yourself on a warm, sandy beach, then you’re in Mexico.”

Elizabeth Godfrey of Jémez Springs recently tried to order a DVD player from Amazon. “Everything went well until I selected the ‘Buy with one click’ option, ”she says, “at which point I received a computer-generated message that told me that electronics could not be shipped to non-U.S. addresses.” When Godfrey contacted Amazon’s customer service via e-mail, pointing out that New Mexico has been a state since 1912, she received a very polite auto-response that reaffirmed that electronics could not be shipped internationally. It suggested that she have it shipped to a friend in the US, who could then ship it to her. Godfrey realized that she would need to call and reason with a human being.

“When I actually talked to a customer representative, we tried reentering my address, with no luck. We then decided to try shipping it to a friend, also in New Mexico, who uses a street address to receive shipments rather than the post office box method that I use. It worked. But the underlying problem remains—apparently the Amazon system believes that New Mexican P.O. boxes are not located in the United States.”

Another Amazonian quest: Up in wintry Chama last January, Orville Unruh decided that his canary was clearly in need of sunshine. Rather than move to Albuquerque, he placed an order for a full-spectrum bulb for birds from a company called FeatherBrite, via Amazon.

To his surprise, he received a notice stating that Amazon could not ship to
his Chama address “due to government import/export requirements.” It
also informed him that the lightbulb was restricted from exportation, and that he might have chosen an offer from a business that didn’t offer international shipping.

Prepared by years of reading “One of Our 50 Is Missing,” he entered into a live chat with an Amazon service rep and told her that FeatherBrite was confusing the state of New Mexico with the country of Mexico.

After 20 minutes of chatting, she told him that it was not Amazon’s fault. They could do nothing if FeatherBrite would not accept the address. He called FeatherBrite, and they said the problem was with Amazon. Not knowing who to believe, Unruh attempted to place the order directly with FeatherBrite—and it went through without a hitch.

Pete Dunavant, an El Paso resident, recently celebrated his daughter’s wedding in Angel Fire, where his family has a condo. Relatives flew in from all over the country to attend, including his sister Betsy, who traveled to New Mexico from Virginia. Months later, when Peter read his sister’s Christmas letter, he was surprised to note that Jean reported that she had visited with “family members who gathered together at Angel Fire Resort in Colorado.” Blame it on the bubbly?

When Richard Garcia’s daughter was a student at the University of Wisconsin, she was invited to a party at a fraternity house. His daughter, born and raised in northern NM, was introduced to one of the brothers as a student from New Mexico. He then asked, very slowly and clearly, “How long have you been in this country?” She responded, equally slowly and clearly, “I was born in this country.”

New Mexico Magazine’s assistant art director, Stephen Bohannon, writes: “My wife and I were visiting family in southern Indiana for the holidays when we decided to stock up on some winter brews for our stay. Since it was late enough for all the great local stores to be closed, we hit up the nearby super-mega-grocery store, Meijer’s. The self-check-out line was smallest, but we ended up waiting for a clerk to vet our ages for the purchase of alcohol. The clerk took our NM driver’s licenses and asked in a cautious monotone, ‘So, like ... Mexico?’

“I nearly jumped with joy. It was finally happening to me!

“‘New Mexico! We’re one of 48 contiguous states! You know, the one between Texas and Arizona? Home to roadrunners and piñon?’ I offered a little too excitedly.

“‘Oh ...’ the clerk replied.” Bohannon didn’t just get beer that night. He got a Christmas present in the form of a “50.”

Send it to fifty@nmmagazine.com or Fifty, New Mexico Magazine, 495 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Include your name, hometown, and state. Thanks!