Jan
14
2013

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Border Crossing from Hell: Part Two

by Tyler

Several hours later, we've made it through Canada, to the USA border. Half hoping for a warm welcome from our fellow countrymen, we receive anything but. We're greeted with a huge array of creepy, over-the-top surveillance cameras, followed by a similarly confrontational guard who interrogates us in a thoroughly rude manner.

When his questioning is finally complete, he brings us aside for, you guessed it, a thorough search of our vehicles. As we prepare to wait in the immigration office once again, we are questioned by yet another unstable asshole with a crew cut:

Guard: "Where are you headed?"
Tyler: "Vermont."
Guard: "Why Vermont?!"
Tyler: "We're moving there."
Guard: "Why Vermont?!"
Tyler: "We like it."
Guard: "What's in Vermont?!"
Guard: "You got a job interview there?"
Tyler: "No."
Guard: "DO YOU WORK AT ALL?"
Tyler: "Yes."

Interrupting this pleasant exchange, a leering officer presents us with a tiny glass canister, asking, "WHAT IS THIIIISSSS!??!!?" Tara responds with a wearily deadpan, "baking soda", and the matter is dropped. They don't even check. It might as well be cocaine. Meanwhile, another officer at the counter is shaking his head, muttering, "it comes in a box, you put it in your fridge", as if he can't possibly imagine another use for the substance.

The entire experience is infuriating. It really is possible for officials to be friendly and kind to strangers—we've seen it happen all over the world. With an ounce of tact they could ask us questions and search our vehicles and it would be no big deal. Instead, we're surrounded by aggressive boot-licking norms with loaded weapons and chips on their shoulders.

Why couldn't it go like this?

"Sorry sir/ma'am, I'm just trying to protect this great nation, and that necessitates that we search your belongings. We realize this is an invasion of your privacy, but that's the price all of us have to pay for safety. I get searched when I go through the border too, and I don't like it any more than you do. I'll try not to make a mess, and I'll be as quick as I can. Thanks for your patience."

Would that really be so difficult?

Eventually, we're allowed back into our home country. As we pull on to the highway, it occurs to me: that zombie apocalypse that everyone jokes about preparing for? It's here. They're all around us, running this country straight into the ground. Really and truly, we don't belong here. More than anything, we just want to get to our woods and build our homestead. If we ever get there!


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3 comments

Sounds familiar! I would like to apologize though on behalf of Canada, and I can see how somehow they may have had reasons to worry, but the US? So strange!
Posted by Magalie on February 1st, 2013 at 2:13 AM
Ha, thanks Magalie! But there's no need to apologize on behalf of your country. I don't hold you or any other Canadian responsible for the few jerky guys working at the border. :-) And yes, it was very strange!
Posted by Tara on February 2nd, 2013 at 9:27 PM
The U.S. border crossing at Oroville WA gave me a crash course on how things are now. If you made any sort of mistakes in your past, or look scruffy, or whatever, be psychologically prepared to have your belongings searched and messed up. I was quite polite to those people and it only took me a few minutes to get into Canada the previous day, so I figured the return to America would go fine.

I don't like people pawing through my stuff for hygiene reasons alone. If they figure we're such a risk, why not search our vehicles and homes on a regular basis? Why even allow people to have passports in the first place, then put them through this? I assumed the granting of a passport was the only real hassle!

I went to Canada for just one day after decades of never crossing and the experience ruined my trip in large part. I wish I'd read stories like this first so I wouldn't have taken it so personally. Their refusal to tell you WHY you were searched is almost as bad as the search process itself.
Posted by Jack on June 7th, 2014 at 11:51 PM
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