Conversing with a Customs Officer

6 Sep

TDH and I, following the directions and suggestions of many of the local Canadians got up and left the hotel by 9am on Labor Day, expecting a near two hour wait to get back into ‘Merica, as we called it during our trip.

Instead there was no wait. Maybe ten cars were lined up between the four lines that were open. We did manage, however, to pick the slowest line out of the lot.

Here’s how the conversation went down (please note: Customs Officer was not a happy man, spoke in a very condescending tone and was definitely trying to scare us.) 

Customs Officer: Where are you guys headed?
TDH: Back to St. Louis, MO
Customs Officer: You guys US citizens?
TDH: Yes.
Customs Officer: Why were you here?
TDH: For a family friend’s wedding in Sarnia.
Customs Officer: Oh really? What are their names?
TDH: Tony & Rachel
Customs Officer: Ever been arrested?
TDH & I, in unison: No.
Customs Officer: Did you buy anything you’re taking back with you?
TDH: Nope.
Customs Officer: You aren’t related to the girl next to you. Why are you together?
TDH: Um, we’re dating.
Customs Officer: For how long?
TDH and I, at the same time: A little over two Months.  
Customs Officer: You ready for the test, young man?
TDH: Sure…
Customs Officer (with a giant grin on his face, thinking surely he’s caught us in a lie): When’s her birthday?
TDH (without missing a beat): September 29th.
Customs Officer: So where did you stay?
TDH: The Holiday Inn right on the other side of the border.
Customs Officer: I need to see your receipt please.
TDH hands it over.
Customs Officer: Okay. Keys please.

TDH gives him the keys and Mr. Customs officer proceeds to the trunk where he rummages through the bags for five minutes. I start sweating because I forgot that I did buy a few books at a used book store, and while they are burried in my bag, I don’t want any questions or accusatory glances/statements/trouble. What seems like an hour later, Mr. Customs Officer hands back our keys, passports, rental car agreement and sends us on our way.

We laughed once we were out of earshot about the “how do you know her” question.  We admitted our mutual temptation to say “No, sir, we aren’t really dating. She’s my escort. I don’t know her at all.”

Once we get to the airport to retreive our bags, mine is wide open in the trunk. Everything had been rummaged through, including my “unmentionables.” More jokes and laughter from TDH and myself coming up with theories about him being a cross-dressing Custom’s Officer. Or one who likes to steal panties. Or maybe he took some of my eye shadow. It was then I realized I had actually been afraid of the United States customs officer, trying to get back into my country.

The Canadian customs officer was much nicer. Maybe I’ll move to Canada.


One Response to “Conversing with a Customs Officer”

  1. Kyla Bea September 7, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    Aw, for what it’s worth I would welcome you!

    My fiancé is a dual citizen and he always uses his US passport to get down to the states, it seems less scary that way.

    I’ve always had good experiences but I know lots of people who have been separated and interrogated, had the panels ripped off their car doors, and have then been left to piece it back together.

    One of the women I work with has an interesting tactic. She usually has her car searched, so they buy cigarettes or alcohol and don’t report it to their customs officer. When they find their ‘stash’, she apologies profusely saying they forgot they bought them and the officer eases up because they finally found something after cars after cars of turning up nothing.

    Very weird.

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