Thursday, June 23, 2005

Adventures with La Policia Numero Dos

Same trip, 5 weeks later. I'm driving from El Paso, Texas up towards Odessa-Midland. I'm in Texas, again, fairly solidly. Mexico is about 100 miles, 120 miles away. Again, another tollbooth-style roadblock. This time, it's a US Border Patrol station. My car is now full of California swag, LA headshots, mix cds, photography equipment, and the cat who bathes in the River Sytx. The border patrol agent is flanked by several other agents, one of whom is carrying a German Shepard and another with a hand-cannon.

The first agent asks me if I have picked up or encountered any illegals on my journey. Hearing him clearly, I say "No sir." My Maryland tags on the Iowa car plainly identify me as a flag-wavin' American, and I figure this will be quick. The agent with the German Shepard is allowing the dog to smell my car. Beazulkitty then decides that this is the perfect time to pop out of the back seat and look at the dog. The canine goes APESH!T, barking his huevos off, deciding that a cat is infinitely more interesting than a box truck full of Dominicans. Squeaky the Cat, having grown up around large dogs, is not scared of the dog, and swipes at him (but, being in the car with windows up, it wasn't an effective attack). The Border Partol agent with the hand cannon orders me to get out of the car NOW!! The other agent, not seeing the cat, opens the door, forces me out, which causes Cujo's maladjusted cousin to leap into my seat, trying to carpe feline.

Squeaky simply ducks under the seat into his cat-sized hiding space, and the dog and agents go rummaging through my car, with me waving and screaming "You're dog's going to eat my cat!" The agent with the dog yanks the canine out of my car, and -with guns drawn- search my 2000 Ford Focus sedan for any sign of Hispanic folks. The worst thing they find is a white cat scared sh!tless, my stinky clothes from living on the road for two months, and, as the only sign of any contact with Mexico, a half-finished bottle of tequila (which, seriously, was not mine, officer - I'd have FINISHED that son-of-a-gun). When they decide that my 4 door car with less trunk room than a Porsche Boxster is not being used as a tool to ferry migrant farm workers across the Rio Grande, they apologized for the dog/cat incident. No problem, I reply, but, anger and fright has been replaced by curiosity - why do you guys have a Border Patrol station 120 miles AWAY from the border? Y'all ain't called the Two-Hours-Inland Patrol."

Dude with hand-cannons' reply "We've given up on that part."

Moral of the story, kids - stay in school. Eat your vegetables. Don't drown your food.

Adventures with La Policia Numero Uno

A discussion on another forum about things to not say to cops prompted me to post this.

I was driving from Vegas to California in 2002 on my first cross-country roadtrip. I was about 40 miles into the state when I find a roadblock. Mandatory stop, no getting around it. So, I pull up with my Maryland tags on my Iowan car and my Satanic cat in the passenger seat and ask the guard what's up. He asks me, in a fairly odd accent, if I brought any produce from Nevada. It sounded like "are you the recluse from Aveda?" I didn't hear what he said, or, more to the point, after five days in Vegas at my crazy friend Doug's wedding, doing stand-up, car-bombs, sports books and watching a midget get teabagged by a naked Elvis impersonator, I didn't comprehend was he was saying, so I asked "excuse me?" as politely as my possibly-still-hung-over arse could. He said "produce!" like PRO-duce, not pro-DUCE, like "You need to produce that report now!" and I was simply baffled by his request. I asked "produce what? My license?" He then yelled "Fruit!"

So, great, this glorified tollboth collector is calling me gay.

I made the mistake of getting out of my car to ask "What?"

Step one, kids - don't get out of the car, ever.

He reached for his gun. Now, having grown up between DC and Baltimore, two of the more violent cities in the US, I've seen plenty of guns. I've fired a few, and while I'm comfortable around them, I'm not comfortable when they're loaded and being aimed at me. Never had any problems in DC, but had guns pulled on me in Des Moines, Iowa, and Nowheresville, CA. Yeah, this makes sense...

I go "calm down, Fife!" and put my hands up (Doug would have been proud). "I just can't understand a damned word you've been saying." He goes "Fruit! Do you have any fruit in your car?!?!? while holding his side arm. "Fruit?" I ask incredulously. "Nah, I'm allergic to it! Got a cat, though."

Apparently bringing the feline spawn of Hades into California is fine, but not a banana. Off I drove to LA. 30 minutes later, I realized I was pretty solidly into California when this happened. Obviously, California has ceded the 40 miles of state land near Nevada as a fruit-fly buffer zone.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Best. Meal. Ever.

I went to Al Tiramisu's on Friday. Positively glorious meal. Top 3 I've ever had, and, perhaps the best. Mesquite-grilled calamari - wow. Desserts that were borderline perfect. The only way to improve the meal is to serve more of this fantastic food.

Thank you Tom Sietsma in the Post for the recommendation.

(and some people think I'm only a complainer.)