The Economic Adventures of a Transborder Street Musician

Heading down south for the big Pesos.

Lo-fi logic and hi-fi law. November 22, 2007

Filed under: the people — ramonalvarado @ 1:21 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Being the courageous and fearless daredevil that I usually am, I took the gigantic risk today, again, of not bringing enough money to cross the border back into the United States. I only played for a little over an hour but for the first 40 minutes my hat remained completely empty. I didn’t quite freak out but I couldn’t help being constantly distracted by an immense blinking-neon-billboard-like thought in my brain that brilliantly displayed the words “WHAT ARE YOU  GOING TO DO?” while I played. There was a brief moment when I almost decided to leave but remembered that the reason why I wanted to leave was quite paradoxically the same reason why I couldn’t leave. I wasn’t making any money and it took money to cross the bridge back home. I decided to change my attitude, forget about that stupid blinking-neon-billboard-like thought burning my neurons and focus on the music, the posture and on bluffing that Murphy f****er (from Murphy’s law), with a little lo-fi logic scheme, into orchestrating some kind of universal plot that could lead an inconspicuously chosen individual to toss a coin into my hat.

At minute 38 the strategy worked and Murphy fell for the bluff. I’ve often been told that I am a master at acting as if I didn’t care.  I guess all of those nonchalant moments finally paid off with a very well deserved reward of a 5 pesos coin. It’s not like I can say that right after that the money just kept rolling in, but it sort of did, except in coins of a very small denomination. For the next half hour everything was business as usual on a Wednesday afternoon. I finished up, got my stuff, walked towards the money exchange store, got my dollars and walked towards the bridge.

It all seemed so normal, regular, even banal and dreamy, like a day fit to be forgotten. But then I saw something, something so baffling that I haven’t yet been able to categorize in a proper ontological drawer within my brain. The categorizing conundrum has me violently torn between two options: I either saw the most amazingly brilliant and capable or the most ridiculous customs officer in the whole world!  Picture this: I am waiting at the pedestrian line to cross the border, right next to me, on my left, I could see one of the lines for cars through the huge glass windows. As I am standing there staring at the void I notice a customs officer inspecting a car. He was just cautiously looking at some laser-visas belonging to the occupants of such vehicle. The officer then proceeds to go around towards the passenger side of the car, opens the back door and asks something (inaudible to me) of the lady sitting there, the lady complies and I just had to burst out laughing. When the officer said whatever he said to the women, she proceeded to extend her right hand, open palm up, towards the officer. The officer then took her hand, pulled it a little bit closer, grabbed her thumb and put it right next to the fingerprint side of her border-crossing ID and proceeded to compare the two. Not only that but he looked serious too, even frowning as if he had intelligently discovered an ackward whorl of tissue  that was not properly documented on the freaking ink print.  You can say good bye to old-school face/picture comparison now, or any super laser readers and hi-fi magnifiers because we have agent Cyclops on the immigration frontline.  I wonder if while analyzing the thumb and the print he was also  able to foresee part of the Lady’s future: “I can see something ma’am, something weird, I can sense that you have come here for something special. Is it the Mervyns pre-thanksgiving sale?”

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Day 5

Amount of money made: $4. 54

Crossing the border: .65c

Actual gain: $3.89

Time played: 1h 12 min.