Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Panic in Hispanic"

"They put the panic, in Hispanic."
A few months ago, on our way back from visiting my parents in South Texas, I encountered a stressful situation at the U.S. Customs checkpoint south of Falfurrias. 

To avoid traffic, my son, the old maltese dog, Chato*, and I made our way from McAllen back to Austin.  The car, which was a rental, was full of clothes, toys and food.

Now, I always get a little nervous crossing the U.S. Customs checkpoint--not that I am hidding anything.  I guess it's more the fear of being asked to pull aside and the idea of having to repack. 

As we approached the U.S. Customs agent, my dog began barking.  I turned around to my son and asked him to hold back the dog.

"American citizens?" the agent asked.

"Yes, American citizens," I responded.

"Where are you coming from?"


"What were you doing in McAllen?"

"Visiting my parents."

"Is this your vehicle?"

"No, it's a rental car."

Then the Customs agent in the background joined in the conversation.

"Where are you going?"

"Home to Austin."

"But you said home was in McAllen," interjected the first Customs agent.

"No," I responded nervously shaking my head. 

"Is that your son?" asked the second agent looking at my son sitting frightened in the backseat.


"Who's this in the front?" the agent asked my son.

"My daddy," he responded.

"Have a nice day," replied the Customs agent as he waved us by.

Gez.  I nearly pooped in my pants.  And during the whole time, my dog was barking his head off, which probably made the situation more tense.

Granted, I wasn't dressed to impress.  And if I were in their shoes, I'd be asking all sorts of questions to a brown-skin guy with long frizzy hair and a goatee and a fair-skin kid in the backseat.

Since that experience, my heart starts beating faster than normal when crossing Customs.

* Chato in Tex - Mex slang means stoned.

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