He had been directing other people in the same situation pointing here or there and sending them on their way but I... got pulled over to the side. At first I thought he was just being extra friendly because he realized that I'm not from around here and that I don't speak much Spanish but my brain came to an abrupt "Oh Fuck" when he asked to see my license.
All I did was ask for directions and I found my self effectively "pulled over." Another car pulled up to ask him directions and when he turned away to answer them (them and their lucky Mexican non-white asses) I saw the back of his shirt - "TRANSITO" - and proceeded to contemplate shitting my pants.
Instead, I did what I always thought I might do if this situation ever came to pass - me alone with a Transito officer - and I played dumb. I pretended not to understand what the word (I'm going to write everything in English, but we spoke all in Spanish) "license" meant and proceeded to bat my eyelashes and smile and repeat "Where is the border?" "I need to go to the border?" "I'm sorry, I don't understand much Spanish."
He was intent on seeing my license though and I had to figure a way out of it because my license has been LOST for a couple of months now. I keep thinking it's going to pop up somewhere but yeeaahh I'm pretty sure it's long gone. ANYHOO, if I admitted that I didn't have it on me or couldn't find it I would have been in sooo much trouble. SO, I kept playing dumb saying I didn't understand until he got frustrated and said "I.D. Identification" - at which point I smiled REAL big and said "OHHHH I.D.! I have that! Here's my passport!!!" WHEW!!
So, he looked at my passport and started with the questions. "Where are you going?" "What are you doing here?" I told him that my husband lives in Reynosa and his eye's lit up, his next question being "Where does your husband work?" (He was sizing me up for how much I was worth, how much my husband would be able to pay to get me out of Transito-Limbo) I told him the truth and lol - he laughed at me! He was thinking maybe I was with a rich husband from the U.S. that heads a factory or something and that he was going to get a lot of $$ out of me. HAA!!
Anyhoo, on with the questions but at this point they were more out of curiosity like "Why don't you speak Spanish?" "Does your husband speak English?" (DUHHHH) "You live in the U.S. and he lives here?" At one point I think he wanted me to call my husband so he could speak to him - he hadn't quite given up on some $$ but I pretended not to understand and asked for the 20th time "Where is the border?"
The entire time he was asking me questions car after car pulled up and asked him directions - many asking the SAME thing that I was and he'd send them peacefully on their way. I didn't let on that I understood the peoples questions or his answers for a while but soon got tired of the questioning and got confident that he wasn't going to take me in on some trumped up charges and said "Ohhh!! It's THAT way! You told that man it's THAT way to the border! Thank You!" He of course ignored me and went on talking, I think at this point I was a fun diversion for him so I pretended to get worried and urgent and told him that I reeeaaaallllyyy needed to get to the border so I could get to work.
At last he relented, handed me back my passport and sent me on my way. All of that because I forgot that "Officer Friendly" isn't so friendly here. All of that over asking "Which way is the border?"
Gahh. A lot of fellow expats - those of you down South might be freaking out because no, he didn't have the right to ask for my license or take my passport or ask me 50 questions -and I know that - but here on the border things are different. There ARE no rights. "Rights" here on the border belong to who ever has the biggest gun or the best cartel hook-up. Here if you disobey or refuse to pay or lol - ask for a ticket - you might get your ass drug out of your car and beat or robbed or both. No matter how loud you spout out the rights for people in the state of Taumalipas, they'll still drag your ass in, take your money, maybe hold you for ransom and steal your car. That's why we pay the 70 pesos to the Transito officers and bid them good day. Sorry Southern Mexico folks, Chino and I aren't young or naive, we're merely saving our ASS.
But tonight, ahhhh tonight I played my best I-don't-speak-Spanish-but-aren't-I-cute card, got an officer that wasn't feeling too bastardy, and got off lucky and scott free. Tonight for the first time we didn't pay a bribe and I did one hell of a happy dance in the truck on the way to work. Tonight I WON!