Stage Fright, of a sort

December 06, 2010

Between Phoenix and San Diego, there are two border patrol checkpoints.  For some inexplicable reason, I get nervous every time I drive through them.  I don’t know why.  I’m not doing anything illegal.  I don’t look suspicious.  They don’t have any reason to pull me over and, if they did, they wouldn’t find anything anyway. 

Sometimes they just wave you through and sometimes they ask a few simple questions.  They are usually along the lines of “are you a US citizen?” and “where are you headed to?”

I’m pretty good at the first one.  And given the frequency that I travel through these checkpoints headed to the same place every time, you would think I’d be good at the second one.

You would think.

We pull up to the checkpoint this morning.  The Border Patrol agent looks in our car and glances at us.

“Are you a US Citizen?”

“Yes.”  I reply, easily.

“Where are you headed to?”

And for some reason, at this moment, my mind goes blank.

“Uhh…California.” I stutter.  Given as we are already in Califorina, this isn’t exactly the answer he is looking for.

“Specifically,” he says slowly, “where in California are you headed.”

My mind is still a blank slate.  I glance helplessly at Chris while in my mind I am cheeping at him, “helphelphelp.”  There is an awkward pause and then Chris and I answer at the same time, “San Diego.”

He nods and waves us on.

Chris turns to me.  “Really?  I mean, really?  You do realize that we are already in California.”

“I got nervous!”

“Of the Border Patrol Agent?  He looks about twenty and he couldn’t weigh more than 130 pounds soaking wet.”

“Not of him, I just get nervous in general.  It’s like taking a quiz.  I worry about giving the wrong answer.”

“It’s not like they’re hard questions.  And they ask the same ones every time.”

I guess I better practice up, seeing as how I’ll be driving through these checkpoints often in the next year or so.