Illustration by Chris Philpot.

As KARIN EDWARDS of Estes Park, Colorado, was reading Joan Didion’s South and West, one sentence stopped her cold: “Out in Colorado … or out somewhere in the West … there’s a quaint little village named Taos.” We’re pretty sure Didion was being facetious, since she ends the passage: “Does it matter where Taos is, after all, if Taos is not in Mississippi?” But you never can tell with folks who don’t live here.

DAVID RUIZ was at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, preparing to fly home to Albuquerque, when a TSA agent asked his destination. “New Mexico,” he replied, handing over his state ID. “I’ll need your passport,” said the agent. Wide-eyed, Ruiz said he wasn’t flying internationally. The busy agent seemed annoyed until another security member whispered something in their ear. “You’re free to go,” the agent said without looking up.

Another ID mishap happened to Santa Fe resident ANNA GARCIA when she stopped by a Ralphs grocery in Los Angeles to grab a bottle of sparkling wine for mimosas. After handing the cashier her New Mexico driver’s license, there was a long pause. “Do you have a U.S. ID?” the clerk asked. Garcia, thinking it was a joke, just smiled as the two stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. Finally realizing that it was a serious question, she explained it was a U.S. ID. Still doubtful, the cashier resorted to scanning the card—which went through—and silently handed it back. Garcia deserved a drink after that awkward interaction.

Read more: Check out our archive of "missing" moments.

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