Sunday, September 22, 2013

My ABQ; Breaking Bad's ABQ

I work in Tuco's hideout. In Breaking Bad, Walt takes a meeting with an evil drug lord and then blows the place up. They filmed the interior at the studio, but the exterior of the building is where I take meeting with my clients. No one's blown anything up . . . yet. Everywhere I go in ABQ, I recall a scene from Breaking Bad. That might not be a good thing.

Walt had a meeting with Lydia at the Grove restaurant to discuss blue meth. I walked past the place when they were filming it. I've taken my wife to the Grove for the daily special which can involve something blue-- blueberries, pistachios and creme fraiche. When I go back to the Grove, I won't think of Lydia. I think of relaxed Sunday mornings with my wife.

While walking to pick up files one day, I saw them filming a big crowd scene at Civic Plaza. A security told me to walk around, but I couldn't help but try to sneak in and check it out. The completed scene would be where Jesse was supposed to set up Walt but ran away instead.

Someone asked me if I was an extra. I wasn't, but I might actually be in the scene, walking off in the far distance...

I am not an extra in my own life. Last night, we went out to Petroglyph National Monument and hiked to the base of the dormant volcano, and then scrambled to the top to watch the sunset. The rocks are made out of dried lava, and you feel like you have gone back to the Jurassic era. I felt a vibration or two. Was the long dormant volcano about to explode? Or was it just my heart beating a litter faster?

This was the fourth time we've done this in September, the perfect time of year.  Each September sunset has turn into one of  the very romantic moments of my life in my memory. I don't recall any Breaking Bad scenes taking place on top of the volcano, but as we look out onto the vast desert to the west and the bustling city to the east, we can point to places where scenes have been filmed. . .

For one moment, I thought this  would be a cool place for a scene --a drug deal gone wrong, with someone being thrown off the cliff perhaps.  And yet one look at my wife, with the sun setting to the west, and I stopped thinking of TV. I thought of us.

We spent  forty minutes on top of that volcano. We each went out too far on a rocky promontory to snap the same pictures we had snapped over the last few years. We saw the Sandia mountains turn pink. We saw those rays of red light that you see on the Arizona flag. We even saw a UFO (turned out to be a weather balloon, but we didn't know it at the time).

 Even if they did film a scene up there on top of the volcano at sunset, it wouldn't matter. . .This was our memory. Our Albuquerque.

I don't know where last episode's climactic shoot out where major characters were killed was actually filmed. It sure looks like a nice place for a picnic.

They actually filmed a scene from In Plain Sight in my home, right by my mailbox. Didn't see it. Don't care.


  1. Jonathan: Wonderful, sensitive, romantic essay! Truly, you and your wife live in a kinder, gentler Albuquerque than Walter White will ever inhabit. All your many fans are so happy about the path you two have chosen--and so very sorry for the choices that Walter has made!

    John Orman

  2. It would be bad torture in a novel to have bad guys drop someone off in the volcano area barefooted.