At the beach on the border
by Joe Cross, photos by Evelin
Tijuana on one side and California on the other. Everybody on a beach day, enjoying the winter sun. A swimmer would be on the American beach in minutes. A man might not make it far but there was no sign of Americans. I assumed they were watching. And they weren’t taking chances – so many better ways to jump the turnstile. Children were children, the women watching them. The fence was rusty and easy to cut and needing to be replaced for cosmetic purposes.
Manny and Emilio were from Guatemala. Clean guys with clean clothes, about 30. They had smart phones that were not too old or too good but with unscratched screens. Both pesos and dollars in their pockets, waiting for the cheapest good-odds way to go. And begin working for dollars – many of the few of which they would send south.
They certainly weren’t in Casablanca. So many ways to get north. The problem was staying patient. I didn’t see a soul with anything to kill the pain while waiting to get north. They didn’t seem bitter or anxious. Four to one their contention that they didn’t carry a knife or held a firearm was true. Hundred to one neither had sold drugs. Thousand to one neither had committed rape, other than perhaps date-rape. They weren’t murderers as far as I could tell.
They were little guys not missing teeth. The mothers were not going to sun on Blacks Beach in San Diego when they would be able to, or St. Tropez. Or go to the beach period. Little women who looked like their mothers. It might take two generations for any of their daughters to look like Ocasio-Cortéz, even a little bit. Or Jenny-from-the-block for that matter.
But then my grandfather would not recognize me either. Blondes, clams, costillas de cerdo, gimcrackery. Those things my folks hadn’t planned on. Ellis Island was not considered under-defended against the horde of semi-Asiatics that they in fact were. Midwest families had Svenka-girls to clean while their brothers chased chickens and milked cows. Ivanka and Jared are nice looking people, staying out of trouble and rumored to keep kosher.
Most white kids can’t get into Berkeley now. University Ave is a drag of of tall girls speaking English that works. No one saw that coming when they were blasting the tunnel. The railroad still starts on one side and comes out on the other but only a few people, afraid of flying, use it to get anywhere. Drive cross-country and you’ll see there is still room in the country for immigrants.
Be cool fool is not the only way to deal with Trump. Rally cats. Evangelicals, minions, ICE, fans, Homeland Security. Just tell them to behave. They are an embarrassment and distraction. Same as the rest of us.