No Passport Required…

1 Dec


The barriers set up by Wal-Mart were no match for the Black-Friday shoppers


            You have to laugh when you realize how small our perceived reality is; the microcosm of our own personal experience. A man on the run for murder, whom I met in Greece, once told me that if you move in small circles you eventually fall through the middle. Beer bottled wisdom maybe, but wisdom non the less! 

Chatting with the lads at break I mentioned that the family and I were headed out to San Diego for a couple of days; a welcome break and a generous gift from a good friend. Three days away from reality in the pursuit of that elusive So-Cal lifestyle. Never been to San Diego, and so the boys were quite happy to give me the benefit of their geographical expertise. 

One of the lads, a native of Minnesota, explained to me that I would probably encounter the border patrol. He spoke in guarded terms, assuring me that there would be no issues as they are… “only looking for illegals.” 

 If I were to put on a sombrero, mount a donkey, speak in gestures whilst picking fruit and mowing a front yard, nobody could ever suspect me of coming from south of the border! I listened politely, thanked him for his advice, and then smiled to myself. 

What this lad doesn’t understand is that being a graduate of the school of hard knocks, and a certificate holder from the kindergarten of getting the shit kicked out of me; I have encountered several borders in my life. Although it’s tough to realize some times, despite the fact that most colonials have never  left these hallowed shores, there is a much larger world out there beyond Maricopa County!

 Facetiousness aside, and taking into account that the breadth of America is around two thousand miles from sea to shining sea, there is a certain amount of genericism going on. How would one know if one was downtown in Baltimore or uptown in New York; what would the red, white, and blues clues be? 


The new directions to Rocky-point were a little confusing

Having grown up and served in the cold war era, a world without borders is a novelty. Countries which I once visited no longer exist! What happened to Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia or the German Democratic Republic? Those hashed marks on the map, now erased. Neighboring countries once separated by political ideology, now reunited. 

Whatever happened to those candy striped poles which used to block trans-border traffic? Strategically placed brick bunkers manned by leather jacketed, machine gun touting, German border guards. This isn’t a Hollywood saga or a work of fiction; this is only a little over twenty years ago. 

 “ Where are you going, where are you coming from, can I see inside your trunk? 

I have worked on Checkpoint Charlie and patrolled the iron curtain in the Harts Mountains of Western Germany. Feared the stern faced British harbor officials searching vehicles for elusive animals in order to protect our island nation from the onslaught of rabies. Seen a man dragged from a German bus by Austrian officials because he had a Lebanese passport. Encountered Turkish guards too eager to use their fists on westerners unwilling to give up their hard currency and enjoyed the company of cross- belted, cheroot smoking, Tunisians who wanted to chuck me in the cells and throw away the key! Travelled into East Berlin and been subjected to a full body search by Russian soldiers. 

Not necessarily happier days, but definitely different days! 

That being said, my oranges have been seized at the Mexican border; my aerosol deodorant confiscated at LaGuardia and I have survived American totalitarian intervention. Of course I have encountered the U.S. border patrol. New boss, same as the old boss!  

“Where are you going, where are you coming from, are you an American citizen, can I see inside your trunk?”  

The thought of more border guard intrusion into my personal business is a little disconcerting. Maybe I should think twice about San Diego, maybe I would be safer staying at home?

Clearly the concept of road rage had eluded the communists!


One Response to “No Passport Required…”

  1. rocojaso December 2, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    Wonderful observation from a well-travelled soul – fantastic!

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