English Only - Plis
I spent a good chunk of yesterday calling government offices in Laredo. I was looking for a pickup truck that was seized along the border last week. I called the Laredo Border Patrol, U.S. Customs, D.P.S., Webb County Sheriff's Department and a couple of others. During my conversations I found myself reverting to my old ways of talking (at least, the way I talked when I lived in Laredo). I always found that the more jokes I make and the more Spanish and English I throw in, the better reception I get. I mention this because I also made a couple of calls to the Williamson County Sheriff's department and although I did make one joke, the conversation was much more stuffy (and professional). In both cases I got the information I needed.
I learned while working as a reporter in Laredo that people feel at ease speaking to someone that talks like them. It's just the way it is. I guess adapting to the environment.
That wasn't even the point of this post. I noticed that with all of the folks I talked to on the border I always heard chatter in the background. The chatter was always in Spanish and English. I was calling THE BORDER PATROL and they were speaking Spanish, not because I was requesting it, but because that's the language they were comfortable using. The same thing happened at U.S. Customs, the folks in charge of keeping people out of the country, and even more so at the Sheriff's department.
I'm not sure why all of this caught my attention, because when I lived there I never thought twice about it. Most of the people working in those offices grew up along the border and speak like border people. I guess this is just part of the conflict that Raza faces everyday along the border. Our cousins are border patrol agents and undocumented immigrants. Our brothers are D.P.S. troopers and jail inmates.