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At this point, it’s been a year since my trip to California and I can still hear the rolling waves of ocean; the tropical palm trees swaying in the west coast wind; the whirring of border patrol helicopters blades swooshing overhead as I panted out of breath from running back to these United States from Mexico, quite illegally.

Okay, okay.  That was a tease, but I’ll get back to it in this post, I promise.

So rather than lay this out in boring continuity, I think it’d be more interesting to take this from the Who, What, When, Where, Why approach.

Let’s the obvious ones out of the way.  Who was I there with?  40 some odd college students who didn’t know each other to begin with, but, in the matter of a week had become thick as thieves.

When?  It’s the Spring Break of 2015, in the middle of March.  I know this because to take this vacation to California, which answers the question of Where, I skipped both my sweet ol’ mothers birthday and a good friends wedding.  I know.  I’m bad.


The Oklahoma college kids had finally arrived at the destination to continue their community service pursuits in the west, which is why we were in California.  Already, most of us needed to do laundry; had grown tired of competing for a single shower with 40 other people; weren’t exactly psyched about waking up at the butt-crack of dawn every morning during a week where we were supposed to be on ‘break;’ learned to die inside and go completely numb each time we had to cram onto a shuttle bus to drive around (after spending 22 hours on it to get to the state we were in); but were having the time of our lives on this groovy trip where we got to help people, make new friends, and visit one of the greatest states in the country.

That’s Why.

What exactly were we doing?

So I described the other states we had been to and the other community service acts we performed there – and what it was like to see the ocean for the first time – in other blog posts.  Thus, this post is about California and what happened there.


Which brings us to Border Angels.  What’s that you ask?  Well, the 40 of us arrived at this community service center and listened to a pep-talk about how America stole this country, none of us are really from here, and how we ought to be ashamed of ourselves as U.S. citizens, which was a chill way to start the morning.

Then we were informed that we’d be taking bottles of water to the border and scattering them about all over this mountainous/desert terrain where the giant wall between Mexico and the United States sits.  Seriously, guys it’s Game of Throne-esque if you’ve never been to it.  The kind of thing you’d expect to keep white walkers, giants, and monsters from coming North of the Wall.

But the point of the water being left on the ground was for Mexican people who risked their lives to enter this country.   Now, let me stop you there.  Yes, totally illegal, and I know it seems sort of like aiding and abetting a crime.  However, we were assured that it wasn’t breaking the law (or at least it was far enough in the gray area for Border Patrol to just ignore us) to leave bottles of water on the ground and regardless of your political stance, saving a life is worth community service hours that all of us would get as a result.

And plus, we were like a group of 18 to 27-year-olds so quite frankly we didn’t give a shit.


Now, here’s where the line got crossed.  First of all, I take at most a quarter of the responsibility because there was a giant gap in the wall between Mexico and the U.S.  It was basically a giant door asking us to make a break for it.

Secondly, I did not initiate the plan.  There were four of us who innocently wanted to get the best view possible, which came ironically close to the giant break in the wall.  And as it happened, the closer we got, the more inviting it became.

At one point, our companions were yelling at us to come down from where we were, but we figured ‘we didn’t turn around so did we actually hear them shouting?‘  And plus the shouting, that we may or may not have heard almost kind of egged it on.

So now we’re sprinting toward the gap in the wall, as if we’re making a break for Mexico.  Which I understand, probably looked like we were trying to escape the country to Border Patrol who had no idea who we were or what we were running from.

What everyone had failed to mention was that the ground was littered with sensors that you’re god damned right will go off if you make a break toward the gap in the wall.

I won’t say what happened when we got to the gap because that’s super mysterious and makes the story cooler, but when we finally started sprinting back down the hill toward our companions, I definitely had stashed like four rocks from Mexico into my cargo shorts.

By now we were working on our puppy dog eyes, because Border Patrol apparently doesn’t fuck around when it comes to – well – the border.


I wasn’t sure if they had sent an Apache Helicopter to shoot all of us, or if was a general non-attack helicopter meant to sweep to make sure we didn’t have Rocket Launchers and ‘Death to Obama’ t-shirts, but it was definitely a bit intense as we then got scolded by our group leaders.

Then a Jeep came cruising down the road from Headquarters, I guess, to verify our American-ness.  You know, the usual “do you like bacon?  do you hate al-Quaida?” routine.  And of course being millenials, we took pictures of it and snap chatted it like idiots cause we can’t help ourselves.

Long story short, Border Angels probably won’t ever let us volunteer again.

But we did leave the water, so they can’t take away our wings just because of a small trifle with Border Patrol.  We were Border Angels.  We did the good work.

After that, I felt that I should probably lay low with my daring adventures for fear of driving the leaders of our group insane.  However, other members of our group wouldn’t let the trip be any less dramatic.

We went to the beach after our little run in with Border Patrol, you know for some R&R and a little dip in the ocean.  And all is well and good, right?  Then the life guard intercom screeches across the beach and informs – whoever the heck – that help was on the way.

One of our group members comes running up with a bloodied nose, because of an unrelated incident, and jokes, “What if it’s one of us out there about to drown.”

It was funny, until it wasn’t a joke.  Not one, but two of our group members had been pulled out by the current.

Cause sometimes if you don’t trouble trouble, trouble still troubles you.

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.

To be continued.

Part One of the Story

Part Two of the Story

Part Three of the Story

Part Four of the Story