Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Skating into Canada by the skin o' my teeth.

"So you had a bit of fun in Customs on your way into Canada, aye?"

Oui, the bottomless champagne in seat 4F disabled my frontal lobe enough to allow me the slight pleasure of messing with a self-important federal agent. Yes, I filled out the French side of my form and then "accidentally" approached the agent assigned to process diplomats and crew members. For the record, the airport was completely empty and our flight was the only one coming through Customs. He asked me, "Are you a diplomat?" I responded, "Should I be?" I think I saw him roll his eyes before motioning me to the female agent in the booth next to him.

Female federal agents are notoriously more difficult to joke around with; I shall not venture to guess why. I dutifully handed her my form. She glanced at it for a microsecond before asking me in a slightly annoyed tone, "Parlez vous anglais?" I smiled wide and pronounced slowly and confidently, "Yes!"

Not amused, she proceeded to grill me about various personal matters like where my family lives, do I have friends in Canada, what is the nature of my stay, do I have any (more) alcohol to declare, where am I going after Calgary, have I been to Banff before... (This was my favorite thing to answer, "Why yes! I have been to Banff before, but at that time I was way too short to drive.") Unmoved, she asked me what was in the Neiman Marcus box. "Christmas ornaments" was my reply. She countered, "I thought you said you had no friends or family in Canada." Suddenly, I found myself handcuffed to a chair.

What will it take to get a little diplomatic immunity around here?

O, Canada:
Land of a thousand comedians,
A hundred hot mineral springs,
And one photogenic squirrel,
May your funnymen moonlight in Customs,
Your natural pools forever reject municipal water,
And your small fuzzy rodents toast to thee.

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