Undocumented and Driving In Georgia

By MartA�n

Ia��m MartA�n. Ia��m undocumented. I drive. No license. Leta��s Rock Na�� Roll!

Driving has always been a euphoric and perverted sick fantasy of mine ever since the first time I laid eyes on the majestic modern marvel this is a Car. I came to America in 1995 with my mother, posing as a fake family with a man who had residency. As we crossed the border and headed East towards Atlanta, one vivid memory of that entire trip was a small, poorly made, plastic yellow toy car that I was carrying with me throughout the trip. Later as a young kid growing up in the 90s, that fascination and admiration with driving and cars became overwhelming. I remember my small Hot Wheels collection and my developed prejudice animosity towards Matchbox toy cars. Going to American flea markets and getting like 50 toy cars for like a dollar; the excess of a poor kid from a 3rd world country in America was simply that.

Driving was such a mystery, it was such a goal, it was total independence, and it was so excitinga��it was fucking Gnarly! As I got older and became consciously aware of my undocumented status at the age of about 10, I had an inevitable understanding of my place in Americaa��s segregated and disembodied realms of hostility. At the age of 16, that first rejection from America was absolutely devastatinga��her beauty was something I could not experience. Not being able to drive fucking sucked, I remember working in roofing construction and being in very affluent neighborhoods and witnessing kids my age enjoying that freedom and indulging in Americaa��s acceptance. I would see kids my age having the time of their lives, with their friends, girls, cars, and whatever other forms of seductions a 16 year old could contemplate.

And then there was me, up on a 14/12 pitch roof, soaked in my own perspiration. The heat from the sun unmercifully raping my existence, my face filthy covered with roof ash and dust. My face and body severely damaged by the suna��s harmful rays, my eyes burning from the stinging sweat. The difficulty and displeasure of inhaling and exhaling the extreme hot air; my muscles and nerves twitching as my heart beats faster and faster. My skin irritating by the pierced fiberglass that covers the roofing shingles. Blood gently flowing down from my open wounds, my lips and mouth dry as my bodily fluids desperately try to cool my starving bodya��it fucking sucked.

For years it was the same situation and realizationa��it wasna��t until I reached the age of 20, when I finally experienced an epiphany that changed everything. I use to ride Atlantaa��s public transportation system for yearsa��it was back in February when I was invited to a meeting with fellow undocumented youth. I took the 2 buses, a train, and a ride to get to the destination. The meeting ended at around 9:30pm and I realized that I was the only male member at the meeting that didna��t drive or had access to a car. The other members were even younger than me; maybe it was my inner arrogant Neanderthal attitude, but I felt inferior. I remember, one member (hey thata��s a lot members, yolo) was generous enough to give me a ride to the nearest train station. One of the female members also was going to get a ride and at the time I had a crush on her. She was riding shotgun and I was alone in the backseata��

That feeling was overwhelming, being in the backseat made me feel invisible as they were conversing in the front seats. As I gazed out the window in disappointment, I felt my body getting warmer from the abnormal heat of Atlanta in Februarya��I started sweating bullets on top of defeat (thanks god). As I departed and said a�?thank youa�?, I arrived to the train station and I had to wait 15 minutes for the train. Another 30 minutes waiting on the bus and then another 15 minutes to arrive home. I felt so alone, incompetent, and somewhat sad. I arrived home like at around 11 somethinga��in utter shame and promised myself that I would try my hardest to learn how to drive, so I would never have to experience that again.

Training began in March, I would youtube search videos on driving and I would study and analyze the movements of the hands and the body in depth when driving. I would closely analyze street regulations and symbolisms about them, I fucking Rocky IV that shita��I killed Apollo! After that self-preparation, I asked my dad to lend me his truck so I could teach myself how to drive. He was so hesitant, nervous as fuck, and regretted saying a�?oka�? the minute I turned the truck on. He was freaking the fuck out, but I was mentally prepared and disciplined to keep my cool and to drive safely. He was impressed but was still nervous as I entered more complex roadsa��I did not fuck around.

Later on March 4, 2012 I bought a 1994 navy blue Pathfindera��that I later named a�?The Mother Ship a�� Jupiter Thunderbird a�� Space Liona�? after waking up for work one day and randomly turning on the TV and seeing a show that was on called a�?Cowboy Bebopa�? and seeing one of the characters flying a red spaceship through outer space, while listening to fast and complicated jazz music. I said to myself a�?Holy fuck, thata��s badass! Thata��s going to be me one daya��yoloa�?. The unfortunate thing was that I had to wait over 7 weeks to get my license plate, ita��s a fucking hassle in Georgia but I managed to obtain it. It was hard, it seemed impossible to obtain the license plate, but I fought tooth and nail. And after having my spaceship collecting dust for over 7 weeks, the minute I liberated myself and started driving, I kept my promise of listening to jazz while driving my blue spaceship into outer space and beyond through the streets of Georgia.

But the most meaningful realization for me happened when I visited Washington D.C. for the first time, to participate in the 2012 Dream Graduation. I was given the opportunity to give a speech (which I fucked up) and it was also the first time I met Mohammad Abdollahi. I had this whole speech written about my personal thoughts on being involved in actions and what not, and then Mohammad talked to me in private and wanted me to change my whole little speech into something else. That a�?something elsea�? was the issue of driving and the risk of deportation. He talked to me about how I made the decision of driving and taking the risk that comes along with it.

He asked a�?how do you feel when you see a police officer?a�? and I honestly dona��t really have any fear of getting pulled over when driving, ita��s more of precautionary measures I fear when driving, like not crashing and obeying street lights and what not. I guess Ia��m not as afraid because I havena��t been pulled over yet. I havena��t had to pay over $8,000 in bond money, I havena��t experienced incarceration on that level, I havena��t felt the emotional burden, and I haven’t experienced the hassle of deportation proceedings, but Ia��m not oblivious to those things. He then responded that what I was doing was not wrong and that in essence, ita��s much more like civil disobedience. And I guess it is having the urge to feel independence and willingly confronting the consequencesa��

There is no happy ending to this, because the end is still not here. But the moral of my story is to not comply with our institutionalized enslavement, to break free, to liberate yourself, and to set yourself free even if that means incarceration.

MartA�n is an undocumented activist and rocker from Georgia. He plays the guitar like a badass and is sick of this shit.

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One Response to “Undocumented and Driving In Georgia”
  1. Yehimi says:

    I love this! Undocumented & Unafraid 😉

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