Monday, October 22, 2007

Juarez Reflection: The Bridge


Having recently found a great enjoyment in tea, I drank fast the now lukewarm beverage as I anticipated the coffee I would soon be enjoying from the gas station on the way to Jenny's (She runs the comedor – or soup kitchen at Youthworks Site 1 – it is our responsibility to pick her up every Wednesday morning to help bring the food across for the people). The line on the border bridge is relatively short this morning. I am listening to a sermon by a good friend of mine, Jeff Cook, as he traverses through the Pauline doctrine of Philippians. I have my hands tucked deep in my hoodie pockets, and all the windows are rolled up tight; the mornings have become increasingly cold. I inch ever more closely to the border. I pull out my passport, and go over what I am going to say to the border guard in my mind. Finally, I make it to the front and the guard waves me forward. We go through the typical exchange – "What are you doing in Mexico?" – "What are you bring into the States" – etc. However, there is something different in his eyes; there is something shifty; there is distrust.

The guard asks me to step out of the van and open the side and back doors. As I do so, he mumbles something that I cannot understand, and I, having been prodded to respond in Spanish while learning in the last week, unhesitatingly reply, "¿Que?" This, of course, is not the right response to an officer who already seemingly thinks you are trying to put something over on him. He steps back, he becomes very stern, and he begins to look me up and down. I pause and wait for his response.

Then, the question…

"When was Paris Hilton here?"
"You know, Paris Hilton. She was here not too long ago with her kids, huh? When was that?"
"I-I don't know man! WHAT?"

Realizing that I was not a Mexican national, that I was not trying to trick him with anything, and that I apparently did not keep up with the doings of one snobbish Ms. Hilton, his embarrassment was evident.

All that said, sometimes border crossing is ridiculous…and I am glad I finally got my passport.

1 comment:

Mel said...

crazy man, bat shit crazy. I'm sure I would have freaked out, thereby making myself look even more suspicious.