And so my ordeal began …
The landing was smooth into Toronto. I picked up my luggage. I filled in my forms and headed into the airport. I had to follow the signs to ‘Transiting into the USA.’ Great. No problems. I lined up ready at the immigration desks. I have to make this clear first of all. I was in Toronto Airport, Canada but the USA Border Patrol are based there and you have to go through them before getting your connecting flight to the USA. I still had almost 3 hours before my flight to Columbus Ohio so it all seemed a doddle.
Now firstly I think the US Border Patrol recruit from the kind of people who seem to find smiling to be the equivalent of farting in front of a maiden aunt. It just don’t happen and yes I have met them before at Newark, Buffalo and all points East. I know they are the forefront of democracy against the evil off all that is not American but these guys take it to extremes.
I meet my immigration officer. I know I am in for the long run. He gives me the usual run-down. I expect that. I crack a few jokes. They go totally over his head. Nothing unexpected there then and next he squiggles a huge red ‘I’ on my file and tells me they will need to ask me more questions. I am led away to the immigration suite.
I place my yellow folder on the pile and sit to await the fun. And before I continue … the words in the squared brackets are my unspoken words. If I had dared to utter them I think I would still be manacled to a bench in a cell while being forced to watch episodes of As The World Turns.
Firstly I get a guy who reminds me of Danny DeVito with hair and the usual Border Patrol symptom of PDD (Personality Deficit Disorder)
HIM…Please sit down sir while we process you. You must turn your phone off. [Resistance would be futile.]
ME… My pleasure. Will this take long? [Off course it will but I have to ask?]
HIM… I can’t say sir just be patient, we are doing our best. [Yea right.]
I sit and be patient with great difficulty. Plenty of time yet. But I start to get worried when people who are shepherded in after me get their forms stamped and go through to their connecting flights. Without being overtly impatient I start to pace and look at my watch while giving him [Hurry the fuck up] looks.
I am handed over to a young ginger haired lady. About 25 going on 50.
HER … Mr Rogers I am making some enquiries about you. Please be patient and sit down. I look at her face. It and smiles look like they are strangers. I just pity her boyfriend. [I bet he needs his passport and an entry permit before making whoopee amongst the ginger pubes?]
She plays with her computer terminal…[OMG she can’t be on fecking Facebook?]
I get the horrors that she is checking my websites!
She disappears holding my file.
And I get passed onto my last officer. 6′ 4” and built like a brick shit house.
HIM … Please stand here Mr Rogers. He takes my picture [One for the album] and my finger prints. Now sir why are you requesting permission to enter the USA?
I am visiting my girlfriend.
HIM. But you have already spent six months here this year?
Before I go on, this guy has the most Hispanic accent. He says ‘is’ I hear ‘Eez’.
ME. Yes that is correct but I have a copy of an email Sir that says this should not be a problem. I show him the missive and the lines that say that my visit shouldn’t be a problem.
HIM .. But thees is from ze office people. Zey ‘ave no idea. It is irrelevant. [Resistance eez futile]
HIM … I ‘ave a problem that you want to enter MA contri sir.
ME … Why eez, sorry is that.[ At least I am flying in. I bet your relatives took the wet route across the Rio Grande.]
HIM. I ave to confer weeth my boss. [For fecks sake.]
I return to my seat. By now I have missed my connection. I have been in this bloody room for about 3 hours now and I am getting brassed off. I can’t call my Raven. I get interrogated after this. My luggage is opened and inspected. I get asked if I suffer from a mental illness? [Yea I am mad at you bastards.] I get asked if I have money? I show him my wallet and lots of dollars. I show him bank statements. He seems to have problems with Pounds and numbers larger than ten. But to be fair he does seem sympathetic to me and he tries again with El Jefe, but no luck and eventually I am told I will not be allowed to enter the USA as I haven’t spent enough time outside since my last visit. Yes I am gutted. I ask to use the toilet and I am escorted to one. It is protected by a key pad. The Danny DeVito with hair lookalike stands guard outside as I pee.
And then I am led along with my luggage and deposited in the Canadian immigration office… My mind is in turmoil.
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