Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican-American pseudo-holiday celebrated more here in El Norte than Mexico itself, has become a huge party holiday, especially here in Southern California. It ranks right up there with the Superbowl and St. Patrick's Day. But for me Cinco de Mayo this year meant something a little less celebratory--I had to endure getting caught up in a sobriety check point on the way home.
It was a very long day in the operating room. Walking in the dark to the parking lot I couldn't wait to jump into my old beater Honda to go home. On my usual getaway road a hazard sign appeared unexpectedly, "Water main break ahead. One lane only." Well that is new, I thought. Darn it. It's late already and now I have to drive my newly washed car through some flooded intersection. I could see police patrol lights up ahead.
As the line of cars inched toward the flashing lights suddenly a new road sign emerged, "Sobriety checkpoint ahead". They had strategically placed this last sign so that there was no way to turn around if you are under the influence. A few cars at a time were waved into a shoulder lane for inspection.
A very tall and very young police officer loomed over me as he shined his flashlight into my car. "Good evening," he said. "Are you heading to work?"
"No, I'm getting off work," I replied.
"Where do you work," he inquired.
"At Big Name Hospital," I said.
"I figured that." Luckily I was still wearing my scrubs. "May I see your driver's license?" I dug out my wallet and showed him my license. "Very good. You can go now. And have a good night."
"Thank you," I replied. And off I went for a long delayed meeting with my pillow. And that's how I spent my Cinco de Mayo.