Interactions with the Defenders of American Freedom

For those of you who have never traveled close to the Mexican border, the United States sets up precious little demonstrations for your convenience so adoringly called “Inspection Stations” (or “interior checkpoints” if they want to get fancy schmancy).  On a casual drive from California to Texas along the border, one might encounter four to six of these along the interstate alone – more if you wander off into country roads.  During such a checkpoint, one usually encounters a humorless, self-loathing man in an intimidating uniform accessorized with an adorable K-9 unit.  They usually ask four basic questions:

1.  Where are you coming from?
2.  Where are you going?
3.  Is anybody else in the car with you?
4.  Are you an American citizen?

As if it’s possible to mess these up…

“Are you an American citizen?”
“No.  I mean, ‘Yes!’  Yes I am!” 

Even then, I still get nervous when I approach them.  Sometimes they get a little snarky…

“Are you coming from California?”
“Indeed, I am!”
“It’s a long drive here to Del Rio, Texas, isn’t it?”
“Indeed, it is!”
“A little too long…”
“Oh, officer… tee hee… I stopped in Tucson first, silly.”
“Ah hah!  You’re changing your story!  First from California, now from Tucson!  …” 

The best is when, within a single mile, the speed limit drops with complete signage to designate every 5 mph drop at even intervals from 70 mph to 5 mph.  Sometimes it’s a challenge to space out your deceleration…

“Driving a little fast there, aren’t you.”
“Was I?”
“Why are you driving so fast?”
“I… didn’t realize I was driving so fast?”
“Who are you trying to get away from?”
“What?  Nobody!”
“Then why are you driving so fast?”
“I… umm…”
“What are you trying to hide?!  Are you a citizen?”

They didn't die in the crash, people.

Sometimes, as I approach the checkpoint, I have to brief myself on who I am and what I’ve been doing.  It’s easy to forget yourself when driving across the Chihuahuan Desert.  Although, during one of the more recent encounters, right when I was pulling up to the checkpoint, a grotesque pig-like creature ran in front of my car.

“Excuse me, officer.  What in God’s name is that?”
“It was a javelina.  Where are you going?”
“A jave-whaaa?  What the hell is a javevenila?”
“Where are you going?”
“No, wait.  Let’s talk about this.  I just saw a freakish alien pig walk across the road, and no one believes the Roswell crash landing?  Are you crazy or am I?”
“I’ll ask you one more time: where are you going?”
“Goodness, man, I don’t even know anymore.  What state is this?”

One of these days I’m going to lose my mind.  I can already envision calling my mother…

“Mom… I… uh… need you to come bail me out of jail.”
“What?!  Why?  Where are you?  What happened?!”
“‘Why’ isn’t important right now.  I’m in… Nogales, Arizona.”
“What?!  That isn’t on the way to Austin!”
“Scenic route, Mom.  Scenic route…”
“What did you do, young man?!”

…flashback…

“Where are you going?”
“It’s funny… my parents ask me that all the time.  I don’t really know.  I guess you could say I’m just kind of coasting right now… coasting through the ups and downs of life, doing what I love with no sort of end plan… no sort of…”
“Sir, what I meant was, what is your final destination of this journey.”
“I imagine it would be the grave, just like everybody else.”
” *sigh*  Is anybody else in the car with you?”
“My loved ones, sir.  They leave a mark on me which I carry wherever I go.  My family, my friends, the strangers of the night with whom I exchange glances, they all inhabit this car.”
“Don’t get sarcastic with me, sir.”
“I’m not being sarcastic!  Sometimes, when I’m lonely, I have conversations with the figures of my past as if they were here sitting beside me in the passenger seat.  It’s a gift – being able to converse with those forever lost in the depths of time – but then when I awake, I feel only melancholy.  A cold, lonely melancholy.  Ah, how relentlessly this forlorn desert pierces into my soul!”
“I’ll ask you one more time – is there anyone… physically… present in the car with you?”
“Do they have to be living?  I mean… like… there might be pieces of them left under all the bricks of cocaine I have stashed behind the Mexicans in the trunk.  Long Live Karl Marx!”

Sigh.  Someday, when I have nothing to live for, this is how I will go out…

About Doctor Quack

Not actually a real doctor. Just another bonehead with an internet connection. I also really like ducks. Like... REALLY like ducks. It's kind of unhealthy.
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5 Responses to Interactions with the Defenders of American Freedom

  1. Anne Hershman says:

    I cannot stop laughing…

  2. threebaddogs says:

    The biggest mystery of all — why would anyone go to Del Rio? Unless there’s a court order, I don’t see the point. Very, very funny.

    • Doctor Quack says:

      I was driving in from Los Angeles to Austin, and I thought I wanted to take the scenic route across US-90 instead of taking the boring Interstate 10. Unfortunately/fortunately, it brought me through Del Rio. Are you a native?

      • threebaddogs says:

        I JUST figured out what that little button at the top of my homepage means and saw that you replied a zillion years ago. I lived in Del Rio for four long years a long time ago. My ex-husband is in the Air Force. It has a certain charm which wore off after a couple of weeks.

  3. rampike says:

    while you take time to brief yourself on who you are, we could suppose that these frequent checkpoints and silly interactions with authority are becoming so much a part of your life that if ever you were questioned as to who you were, you could lead them straight to the familiar identification spots.
    Probably hoping you’d see one of those pig nosed things again.

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