Last night I had a dream where a lot happened, but I just wanted to give a highlight. I was in California on vacation. For whatever reason, a decent chunk of California, somewhere down by San Diego, had been given to Russia. This chunk that had been given to Russia was actually pretty nice. I actually liked what they had done with the place. Instead of the sad Cossack factory you would expect from Russia, they kept their new land as a nice piece of forested semi-wilderness. I know there is no place like this near the real San Diego, but, what-the-hell, its a dream.
The first day I decide to travel to Russian-occupied California, I bring my passport, wait in the car travel line at the border crossing for over an hour, go on through and enjoy the wonderful wooded sanctuary that Russia has to offer on what once was American soil. There are tall redwoods, birds are singing, squirrels are running around. It is a welcome reprieve from the bustle of city life.
That night, after returning a friend’s apartment in San Diego, I go out and have a good time. When I come home, one of the neighbors had been violently murdered. These were people I met earlier in my dream. I think it was a sweet Asian lesbian and her lover who were murdered by some guy or ex-lover or something. It was pretty unsettling. I decided I would rather go camping in the Russian woods the following night instead of remain at this crime scene. I grab my backpack and gear and leave near sunset.
At the Russian border, the line is moving much faster than the day before. It takes only 20 minutes to get to the checkpoint and I am in the lane at the end of checkpoint rows closest to the Russian border building. As I am 3 cars away, I reach into my pocket and am shocked to discover that my passport is not in my pocket! I’m digging in my backpack when it is my turn to pass through. There are 2 border guards sitting next to each other in this cramped booth and I’m going to be holding up their smooth-moving line.
“I’m sorry to do this, but I need to step out of my car to get my passport. It is in my luggage. Is that alright?” I ask. The grim, frowning Russian border guard nods.
I get out of my car holding my backpack and start picking through my bag. I hear my border guard talking in Russian to his partner. I can’t find my passport and, as I think about where it is, I turn to the border guard and say, “I think this might take awhile to dig out. Would you like to take a break or something? Maybe run and use the bathroom? It must be really tough to be crammed into your box all day. This would be a good time for a break.”
The border guard’s eyes light up at the opportunity. He turns to his partner, speaks some Russian, and his partner nods.
“Alright,” he says, “while you look for passport, I go inside. Uri here will be watching you.” He says it sternly, yet thankfully. Then I watch his overweight body walk quickly into the border building. He looked like he really needed to use the bathroom.
As I’m taking apart my backpack and tent, I remembered where my passport was. It was in my big suitcase back at the apartment! I don’t know why I put it there. I guess I was folding laundry and thought, “Hey, what a great place to put this when I’m not using it!”
It takes about 20 minutes for my guard to return. He has a big smile on his face. He turns to his partner, they converse in Russian and then his partner heads for the building.
“You find?” my guard asks.
Embarrassed, I respond, “I think I might have left my passport in my luggage back in America.”
“You need to look more in bags, yes?” The guard says, smiling and nodding.
I get the message. Smiling and nodding, I say, “Yes. I need to look some more for my passport.”
I end up making a friend with my border guard. We talk about his work and I sympathize with the stress of his job. He was so thankful that I allowed him his break. He really needed to poop, and we both laugh at this sad fact. In Russia, you don’t break from job, job breaks you. His partner returns, we laugh at a parting joke, and I take the turnaround road back to the United States where I’ll spend the night at my friend’s apartment.