Canadian Customs, not a laughing matter…
Hey everyone. I’m back from my trip to Canada, or what I like to call, “America’s hat.” Canadians don’t mind if we make fun of them. They’re incredibly nice and seem to just go with the flow. That is, unless you work at the Victoria Customs office as a passport checker. Let me explain…
I flew 4 long bumpy hours on an Alaskan Air flight from Chicago to Seattle. Once in Seattle, my husband and I boarded a little Horizon Air prop plane and flew 30 minutes to the island of Victoria, British Columbia. It was midnight when we arrived. We were tired. I was especially tired because I reserve the right to always be slightly more miserable and put upon than my husband. If he got up at 6:00 am then I got up at 5:30 am, and so it goes… : )
As you can imagine, I just wanted to collect our luggage and get through customs because I knew my daughter was on the other side waiting for me. My husband suggested we each write our own customs slip instead of putting them on one, as one family. That way, he could wait for the luggage and I could get through quickly. Easy Peasy, right?
Not so fast. The passport guy was not pleased with our scheme, though it seemed perfectly reasonable and legal to us. He asked me about luggage. I said my husband was going to wait for the bag and I was going to go through. Apparently he didn’t like that assumption, he didn’t like my ‘can do’ attitude. He pointed out that my husband, if asked to open the suitcase, would not be able to explain my items in the bag. I’m thinking, um, “Yes, he would. He’ll say that’s my wife’s blouse.” It doesn’t really take a rocket scientist, does it? Keep in mind, this is all taking place in a room slightly bigger than my living room. He’s seen me with my husband, he’s seen us fill out the forms, and obviously he sees that we’re incredibly tired, haggard, really.
Basically, the guy was a passive aggressive Jackass. I know, such language! He told me that we had to go through together. FINE! (A little eye roll on my part because it seemed so unnecessary.)
Lo and behold the bag came through quickly! We replaced the original single custom’s slip for our family of 2 people, and returned to the same guy. Okay, this is where it gets ugly. I don’t think he was happy that our suitcase came through so quickly. He started asking us questions, which of course, as seasoned travelers we expect, but his questions were voiced in decibels no louder than a whisper. He dropped his voice volume purposefully to take back his power and make us look like idiots. We were already hearing impaired even before the prop plane ride, and now we would look like two daft imbeciles responding with, “What?” “Pardon?” Excuse me?”
Yes, he was evil. He relished every ounce of his silly authority. One of his many questions which confounded both my husband and myself was, “Why will you be returning home?” *A look of complete bewilderment* “What do you have to return home to?” I almost started to laugh because the questions were absurd, but my husband shot me a look that said, “We’re in deep enough — for the love of all that is Holy, do not laugh or we’ll end up in Victoria Passport Prison.” You know, that look.
Fast forward, these two old criminals were finally allowed to go through. OH BROTHER!!! What an ordeal. As I walked away, I uttered, “Jackass” just loud enough for him to hear. I couldn’t help it. It’s the rebel in me. (I’d like to reference “Cool Hand Luke,” here.)
Just to re-cap… Canadians are nice and funny and love maple syrup, but DO NOT CROSS THEM at the Customs counter – even if they are just America’s hat! : )