Is This Texas City the Laziest in All the Land?
I remember hearing a joke when I was a kid that went like this: How many El Pasoans' does it take to change a light bulb?
The answer? One. But, he'll do it tomorrow.
That's been El Paso's reputation forever. That we're a bunch of lazy, procrastinators. If one person thinks something, it's their opinion. For a few, it becomes a "school of thought". When everyone thinks it, you start wondering if there's any basis for fact.
I think there is and science agrees.
Let's Look at Overall Life on the Border First
We live a symbiotic existence with Juarez and up until fairly recently, the Mexican tradition of an afternoon siesta survived. The image of guys sitting against a wall in the shade with their sombreros over their faces, snoozing away the afternoon helped create the "lazy Mexican" stereotype, and El Pasoans' got lumped in with it.
The siesta, mind you, was simply a response to the real culprit, the desert heat.
When the temp hits triple digits, and there's little shade, you slow down some, I don't care who you are.
In Mexico, and, vicariously, El Paso, pretty much everything stopped during the hottest part of the day for the "siesta" and even the most important tasks were postponed.
El Pasoans have always been pretty laid back and we're far enough away from the rest of Texas that we don't have a "big city hustle" about us. We're fine with working at our own pace and doing our own thing.
There is a scientific basis for this behavior though and it's not just the heat; it's our water.
Most of the El Paso water supply contains high levels of lithium.
Lithium is a naturally occurring element used to treat a number of things including bipolar disorder and depression. In short, it mellows you out and makes you feel good about things. (If you think we're chill now, wait 'til we fully legalize pot around here.) As far back as 1971, studies were being conducted that connected El Paso's attitude with the local waters' high lithium levels. As recently as 2015, reports of our lithium water were still popping up. As I said before, lithium makes you mellow out and I agree that it's a driving factor behind the famous, or infamous, "El Paso attitude". It's even suspected that it plays a role in our low crime rates.