Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crossing Over

Last week we had a little jaunt down to my favourite place on earth, Manhattan. We take a fair number of trips, and a fair number of those are back to my mecca, good old NYC. It never gets old. And neither does going through the border.

Border agents are a special breed of person. They're not bad, they just have a tough job to do, a job that seems interesting as you're passing through, but is probably a weird mix of stressful and monotonous to actually perform on a daily basis.

Border agents like to ask all kinds of questions, some of them borderline silly, some of them completely 100% silly in an effort to knock you off your game, gauge your reaction, and judge whether you're breezing through guilt-free, or if you'll ever so slightly give away the secret fact that something's hiding in your anus.

Since we never have anything to hide, we tend not to mind the questions. We've encountered everything from the guy who wants to hear the band you're going to see, to the friendly dude who gives out restaurant recommendations, to the gruff lady who wondered why we can't just shop in our own damn country. If we're crossing by car, they always ask my husband who's car he's driving in kind of a judgy way (he's driving my Beatle). Sure they're trying to make you a little nervous, but they aren't trying to ruin your vacation, or even your day. They're just putting in their hours while also kind of defending their country. The friends we traveled with recently had their orange wedges confiscated by an overzealous agent. I realize nobody wants a food-borne illness to jump the border, but this wasn't a dozen cases in the trunk they'd intended to sell in Central Park. It was a baggie of orange sections for a pregnant lady to consume while travelling to hopefully avoid some morning sickness. It was 1 piece of fruit that was very probably grown in Florida to begin with and had possibly passed through the very same border crossing a week prior. But the USA does NOT want that orange back! The offending orange was removed from their possession and they went on their merry way.

It made me realize that we truly must have somehow become the most boring people on the planet because not even border agents want to harass us. Not that we want them to. Not really. I mean, maybe just a little good-natured bullying, or some condescension while fondling their tasers. Just a little something to make us feel relevant. Like we're not completely past our possible-sexy-smugglers prime. Like we maybe, just maybe, could possibly be part of some glamourous international crime ring that will one day be referred to by a snazzy nickname in the press. Like we pose just a fraction more of a threat than my grandparents do. We could be mattress-tag-ripper-offers. Or we might jam up highway toll machines by inserting pesky Canadian coins! Or we may incur lots of roaming charges that we pay only delinquently!

Okay, fine. We're boring. We're going to travel safely and responsibly while dropping lots of tourist dollars. We have travel insurance. We packed our own bandaids but not our own produce. We know how to convert currency and speedometers and colour to color. We're good little travelers. We keep our citrus to ourselves.


Jude said...

I haven't travelled across the border since the days when all we needed was our birth certificate. I'm sure these days I'd feel GUILTY about some unknown thing I may or may not be carrying across unknowingly, just because I'd feel so intimidated, LOL

But a few orange wedges, really??

Lorna said...

I always look like I'm smuggling. It's an art and I will continue to practice it.

Martini said...

When I was 7 or 8 we were driving back from Florida, crossing the border around midnight. My 5 year old sister was asleep in the back when the border guards decided to search us. They literally TORE our Oldsmobile to pieces. They ripped door panels off and everything. They made us sign affidavits, and they got MAD at my 5 year old sister when she didn't know how to sign her name! They separated us from our parents and wouldn't let us sleep. Three hours later they found nothing. My parents were livid, screaming at them the whole time. They should've been ashamed of themselves.