I’D HAD A GREAT TIME IN BAJA CALIFORNIA but it was time to return to the US. I decided to use the port of entry at San Luis Rio Colorado to see if it was quicker than my usual crossing at Los Algodones.

It wasn’t. The line was longer, and it was slower even though there were more lanes. I also got sent to the inspection area and told to wait in a room. Okay. I knew I didn’t have any illegal items. I was only concerned they’d make a mess of my van or want to tear things apart. I watched through the window.

After a few minutes that seemed like hours I was called out to a table where a young agent pointed to two empty egg cartons.

“You can’t bring these in because they might be carrying avian diseases,” she said. I shrugged. I had saved them because they were purple and I have a chicken-keeping friend who could use them when she gives eggs to her neighbors.

Then she pointed to my 5-gallon bucket. “What’s in there?”

“Human waste.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Yeaaaah, that’s what I thought. I’ll have to check it anyway.”

I shrugged again and screwed off the Gamma Seal lid. She took the quickest peek and wrinkled her nose even more. “Yup.” She waved the air and gestured to close the lid. “You’re free to go.”

I drove away wondering if the others searching my van knew what was in the bucket but just wanted to haze the young agent. And I also wondered if they had considered something could’ve been hidden under the trash bag lining the bucket. But at least my van was in one piece and the contents were only a little disheveled.