We packed in the darkness and left Banff while the sun was still nestled behind the mountain in the distance. Today was the push. Today, the Canada chapter was ending.
Onward, once more.
We passed through Calgary, the home of two brothers of the soul from my retreat down in Peru (Previous Entry: The Ayahuasca Retreat). Not one, but two people from my retreat, how exciting! This was the closest in proximity I’ve been to any of them in almost a year, and who knows when the next time would be. My dear citizens of the world, scattered throughout, it makes me smile to know you’re out there, but I do miss those physical shapes of yours. Sadly, as much as I wanted to stop, we pressed on.
After the haze of tax and duty free stores littering the landscape, we made it to those familiar looking lanes. This was the first time I was crossing INTO the US from a neighboring country, but the procedure was about the same.
We waited patiently behind the van in front of us, while I entertained myself by teasing my companion about the illegals and getting shot in the face by the former vice president turned border agent.
Finally it was our turn, and we pulled up to the window for the usual questions. However, instead of the “Ok, welcome home boys, go on through!” that I expected, the agent told us to pull around for a search and further questions. That’s new.
My companion is convinced that there were secret microphones in the grass, and my joke about Dick Cheney was overheard through the rolled up windows, thus the reason for secondary questioning. I’m pretty sure it was just random, or training, or they saw two weirdos in a car packed to the brim, and wanted a closer look. Whatever the variable, we obliged and pulled into the awaiting lot.
Uh oh! We’re in trouble now! We got out and sat patiently in the lobby.
The urge to cause mischief was skyrocketing, I had no drugs, weapons or illegal immigrants in any of my pockets, so why not? Surely they wouldn’t hold an upstanding citizen like myself, right?
We surrendered our passports at the counter before being asked to sit down once more. Then, they came for me. Just me. Two large men, uniformed, armed, heavily mustached, and who waddled more than they walked, due to their batman utility belts and their overall girth. “Come with us please” the leading man said, before turning and motioning down the hallway.
The crunch of leather echoed down the corridor as they led me to a very sterile looking room around the corner. Just a small window, small table and two chairs awaited me. Inside they ushered me to one of the chairs, and mentioned they’d return momentarily. I suppose to build anticipation for questioning?
I sat in my chair, attempting to get comfortable and lean back, but the thing was bolted to the floor, as was everything else in the room. When they returned, the older of the officers took the seat across the table from me, while the other stood uncomfortably close with his arms crossed, demonically gazing down at me. Second cop was clearly bad cop.
And then it began. “Where are you going” “Who are you with” “Got any drugs?” “Are you actually traveling together or have you been kidnapped?” “Are you smuggling any moose?” “What’s in your hat?” “What did you do in Canada” “What did you see?” “Why did you want to leave the US in the first place”
I do believe there was a question about whether or not I believed in or sympathized with jihad or something of that nature. It took my everything not to say “Yep, ya got me!“, but I’m sure my attempt at humor would be met with blank faces and possibly handcuffs.
“Please empty your pockets”
And so I did. He reached over the table and picked up my wallet, carefully examining it before he pried open every corner of the leather. Money. License. Bank card, business cards (wait for it!), a condom, a razor blade, and two pills.
He blinked. I blinked. He nonchalantly laid the three items in question out on the table looked at them, looked at me, looked at them, looked at me. I didn’t look up, but I could almost HEAR the veins popping out of bad cops forehead. My heart jumped at the blade, I had completely forgotten that was in there. At the same time, my mind was desperately trying not to laugh at the many scenarios one might use all three items for.
“Don’t ask me about the razor blade, don’t ask me about the razor blade“ my mind whispered. How could I put “I couldn’t bring my usual blade on the plane, so I opted for something smaller and more compact“ into terms that wouldn’t get me held indefinitely.
He slid the two pills toward me. “Oh thank god, he picked the unmarked drugs!“ cheered my brain. “What…are these?“ he said, as he did the now comical, rapid stare from pills to me.
Which they were, but with the razor blade and condom, you’d think I was railroading em right before having myself a good ol’ time.
He held his stare and folded his arms. Much to my surprise he didn’t press, and leaned back satisfied.
The bad cop finally broke from his statuesque posture and stepped toward me. He leaned down and wrapped his sausage fingers around the soulstone hanging from my neck. AGAIN, this is the second person to molest my crystal with their filthy, unwanted hands. I met his glare with one of my own and repeated the exact lines I used with the TSA agent. (Previous Entry: Onward To Alaska)
“Quartz. Crystal”. “Where did you get it?” “Peru”. He stared into with an official curiosity, while I sat there questioning why people are so dumbfounded by quartz crystal.
With no more questions, the officer at the table stood up and shook my hand. He thanked me for my cooperation and said he would be with my momentarily.
Meanwhile, the bad cop uprooted himself and walked out of the room. He crossed the corridor window, and exited through the security door. The officer who was talking to me, reached for the handle before it closed, but he was a second too late and the heavy door clicked shut. He swiped his ID card, pulled the handle, but the door remained locked. He swiped it again, pulled a little harder, yet still nothing. He did this two more times while I watched, peering out from the room where the air of authority is still thick in the air, with this look on my face
One more time he tries, and one more time he fails. He stood there for a second, defeated. And in that glorious moment where zero tolerance meets awkward human nature, he slowly turns his head, looks through the window at me, and lets a timid smile shine through his stuffy mustache. Aw!
Bad cop eventually opens the door and lets him out. They get my papers back in order, then I’m released as well. Bad cop is standing at the end of the row with his hand extended. I thought he was going for the handshake, but he had my razor blade in his hand “Forgot this” he groaned. “Oh. Yeah. Thanks.”
My companion was released shortly after and we returned to the car to exchange stories. All that and I didn’t even get a stamp in my passport. What a bummer.
Hello United States, I’m back!
-Conclude a road trip through Canada -Cross into the US from a bordering country – Get stopped at the border for secondary questioning – Pull a razor blade on a border agent -Enter North Dakota