Reasons to be there

I grew up in warehouses.

On Sundays, my dad would take me to early mass while my mom and sisters stayed home. Father Rosensweig of the Holy Order of Pedophiles gave express in-and-out 30 minute mass at 8 a.m. By 8:45 we’d have picked up McDonald’s hotcakes or Jack In The Box croissant sandwiches and I’d be sitting at some secretary’s desk while my dad made phone calls to load trucks full of produce to send north and west.

The offices changed but they stayed the same. Giant world maps on the walls with Nogales written in tiny blue or red letters. A photo of my mother and me when I was a blue-eyed baby, me holding onto her gold chain that got robbed one night when we were at a party at the neighbor’s house.

There was nothing fun about these offices for a kid of ten-years old. I learned to play with office supplies: staplers, highlighters, rubber bands, date stamps, yellow legal pads, day calendars. I’d spin around in creaky office chairs that smelled of stale coffee. I’d make Swiss Miss hot chocolate in stained mugs with the hot water from the dispenser that gurgled when I pressed the red tap. I’d remove the dust cover from they typewriter and stick my fingers on the paper to strike letters onto my pinkie.

When I was younger, my father would let me loose to four wheel on a kiddie quad kept in the warehouse for the company owner’s kids when they were in town. But after my mom found out, that stopped being a thing.

Now it was mostly ferreting through desks looking for candy or anything that might resemble fun to a kid. Eventually I’d staple my finger or snap a rubber band in my eye, paint my nails with White Out, and head to the actual warehouse that stood empty on Sundays. It smelled of green farts—methane from ripening fresh produce. My steps echoed on the cold cement and tin walls. I’d tap dance and sing “Good Ship Lollipop” to an audience of none.

The foreman’s office was papered with blond centerfolds that proclaimed, “This place is not for you.”

I’d stand on the forklifts and push all the buttons, equally terrified and exhilarated when one would actually make the thing move.

I could have died of boredom, except that if that were possible, there’d be no one left in Nogales at all. So instead, I learned how to weave wonder out of everyday ordinary objects on a Sunday morning in a tiny blue or red dot somewhere on a giant map.

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