Make this make sense to me

Canada Customs
Canada Customs

Yesterday, I crossed the US-Canada border at Aldergrove.

Me  [Smiling and handing over my passport with my Nexus card inside]: Hi

She [Not smiling, hand outstretched]: Hi

     Nexus card falls out as she opens the passport.

She [Visibly irritated]: Don’t hand them both to me at once! Give me one or the other, not both! If that card hadn’t landed on my leg it would have fallen on the floor and been lost. Gone. For ever!

     No, I don’t think so. I saw it fall.

Me [Contrite]: Sorry.

          Wait a minute! This woman has just scolded me as though I was eight years old and she was my primary school headmistress. I even remember her name. Miss Woolgar!

She: Where do you live?

Me: Red Deer, Alberta

She: How long have you been in the US?

Me: Since mid-December

She: What brings you through here?

 This is my chance to redeem myself. I’ll try to make her smile.

Me: Garmin. My GPS .

She [Not amused]: You mean you followed your GPS even though it took you 1,000 miles out of your way? Make this make sense to me.

 Wait. What? No! This is not 1,000 miles out of my way. It’s actually quite direct.

Me [Smiling, still trying to placate her]: No, I visited a friend in Seattle.

She [Unsmiling]: What is the value of the items you are bringing back with you?

                Oh, goodness, I don’t know. I didn’t keep track.

Me: Nothing. I’m not bringing anything back.

She: Nothing? Really?

Me: I left it all behind. Everything I bought while I was in the US, I left there.

                She doesn’t believe me.

Me: I have an apartment in San Jose. I left new things I bought there.

I don’t have a single receipt. Not one. Please, please don’t ask me to open my suitcase.

She [Handing back my passport]: Have a safe journey.

Me: Thank you.

                Phew! … Grrr!



  1. I always thought that they were under orders not to smile, and that one of the conditions of being hired was being humourless (without prejudice–just in case this follows me somehow next time I cross the border) LOL.

  2. How old was she? Did she have a German accent? Could she previously have worked at Checkpoint Charlie?

    When such things happen to me I cheer myself up with the thought that, since happy people generally live longer, she probably won’t be long for this world. And even if she is, her time on it will be miserable if her mood with you was anything to go by. It is with such cheery thoughts that I brighten up my day.

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