Monday, June 12, 2006

Laredo II

Ah, yes. Laredo, Texas – the Garden Spot of absolutely nowhere. Laredo sits on the Mexican/US border. Not near the border – on the border. In fact, one wrong turn in Laredo, Texas and you’re on the International Bridge heading for Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

I’ve never been across the border, but other drivers have related their experiences. Nuevo Laredo features a section of the city called Boy’s Town. It’s nothing like Father Flannigan’s version. This one is all bars, strip clubs and hookers. Yeah, it’s a cultural center.

My first trainer, Tony, told me a story about his first trip to Laredo, TX. Quite naturally, he got lost. He went to a convenience store to ask directions, but the clerk spoke no English. A younger man came out of the store’s back room and, in excellent English, gave Tony directions to his drop.

As Tony thanked him and headed for the door, the younger man said, “Next time speak Spanish.”

Tony’s classic reply was, “When did they move the fucking river?”
I never got out of Laredo in less than 2 days. The worst was a 4 day wait during which I sat and observed my surroundings – a dusty parking lot filled with empty trucks waiting for loads.

I watched an empty Styrofoam coffee cup blow across the parking lot. Because of its tapered shape, and the fact that one end is open, the path it took across the gravel was a sight to behold. It flipped, pirouetted, spun and scooted as the wind and air currents caught first one end, then the other.

At times it would be sideways to the wind, so that it’s tapered shape caused it to spin in circles. Because of the unpredictable nature of wind, the cup would start and stop at irregular intervals, reminding me of a bird scurrying across the lot looking for food.

This diversion continued for about 15 minutes. Then, during one of the lulls in wind power, the cup stopped and was crushed by a passing truck. Now that it was flattened and had no sides to act as sails, the once dancing and whirling dervish was inert. It was just another piece of trash on the landscape of life.

Yeah, that’s how bored I was.

More to come on Laredo.



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