From ’92 to ’94, Brian and I lived in Tempe, Arizona. Sometimes we liked an adventure drive (about three hours) to the US/Mexico border to eat and go shopping. The scenery was beautiful, and the drive was partly through Native American lands, about which I had curiosity.
We usually went to Lukeville, AZ/Sonoyta, Sonora. The border crossing back and forth was easy, I suspect because we presented a certain “appearance,” plus the real checkpoints were set back a ways on both sides of the border. We would park on the US side and just walk over, though one time we just drove the car, no problem. The divided cities were a sort of a free zone.
Both the US and Mexican sides were sleepy, just a few agents outdoors on stools asking an occasional question of the passersby. We crossed over with a friend from Germany one time, and on the way back into the US, the customs agent said, “Hey Germany, I just need to see your ID.” We were startled that the agent knew.
We’d eat, shop, then head back to Tempe. I bought this objet d’art (obra de arte) on one of those border trips. It still hangs on a wall in our house after all these years.
In spite of the relaxed sleepiness of this small border crossing, we heard stories that if you gave a ride to someone into Arizona, somehow “they” knew, and all hell would break loose.
The first summer I ever went to Mexico, I was out in bumfuk Colima, and a friend offered to let me drive his father’s high-horsepower Ford Maverick.
I was barely able to put the Spanish together at that time, but I understood “¿Sabes manejar un estándar?” (You know how to drive a clutch?)
Neither one of us knew if it was legal for me to drive there as I slid into the driver’s seat. He let me drive that rocket around on the country roads for a while. I’d never driven a car with so much horsepower (tantos caballos).
My friend ended up the event by saying, “Eres un buen automovilista.” (You are a good motorist).
This is my friend Cesar from Colima driving his father’s pickup. Nice guy. I didn’t have to do handstands to be his friend. He was so patient with my borked Spanish. 1980-ish.
I have a few dreams that have been recurring over the years. A new installment will come in every few months or years. One set of the recurring just got infused with recent events. The plot of this one is easy to guess.
In this dream, Guadalajara (Jal., MX) and Greensboro (NC, USA) are connected for me by a “passage”. On the Guadalajara side, I enter via a side street at the north end of Chapultepec near the old Aurrera store. I emerge on Market Street at Greensboro College, though sometimes it’s a block over on Friendly Ave. I can go either way. Sometimes it doesn’t work in the dream. I walk the entrance/exit points correctly yet the passage won’t open. I like the dream because I can magically get to places I like easily and on a regular basis.
The mid passage is a grassy trail, overgrown with weeds, and looking like there are lots of ticks and snakes. Sometimes children and dogs are running around. There’s a little creek midway that I can usually just hop over.
The last installment of this dream had a new wrinkle. I got the passage to open from the Greensboro side and was walking the usual trail to go to Guadalajara, but children kept running by saying, “gringo, hay problema!” (gringo, there’s a problem). I got to where I always cross the creek, but the creek had been replaced by a coil of concertina wire with a few old guys in uniforms on each side.
— They told me, “it’s closed”.
— “But I’ve been coming here for 39 years! I have friends.”
— “No exceptions at this time. You can wait just over that hill.”
I walked over the hill and was surprised to find a sports-stadium-sized crowd of humans wandering around and waiting.
What will the next installment bring? Maybe it just stops here. For now, my gig is up.