Alright, I admit I have made a few jokes about our friends up north. None too harsh, but yes, I laughed audibly when Homer Simpson called Canada “America Jr.” A Canadian friend of mine once lamented that Americans (he bristled that we claimed that title) knew nothing of Canadian government while every Canadian knows who the founding fathers of the U.S. were, as well as who the sitting President of the U.S. is at any given time. I looked at him and with a straight face simply said, “yeah? You realize there is a reason for that right?”
He didn’t like my answer.
Turns out a lot of Canadians don’t like my answers.
After spending some time with friends in St. Alban Vermont, I decided to take advantage of my proximity, as well as schedule flexibility, and head up to Montreal to see what all the fuss is about. I was actually getting a bit excited as I pushed northward with echos of “It’s a lot like New York” ringing in my head.
I had my passport in hand when the guy with the bullet proof vest and walrus mustache said “bonjour”. He asked questions, asked me to step out of the vehicle, and asked me to open all the doors.
I expected to have my things rifled through a bit as I drive a vehicle that all my family and associates find suspect. After finding no missing children inside, I was sent to the desk to talk to the DMV lady. She uninterestedly stamped my form and gave me a slip with the code to the gate that would send me on my way to a French speaking adventure.
Mr. Walrus met me at the gate. He explained that Montreal was a great place and I would love it; but only after I went back to the States and unloaded my van. He was unimpressed with my not having anywhere to leave my cargo and simply waived me toward the U.S. checkpoint.
The U.S. border agent told me I wasn’t missing anything in Montreal. He also told me that those denied entry are supposed to get a little pink slip. I wasn’t.
Inside, at another desk, an agent was asking a large man with no socks when exactly it was he went to Cuba, and why did none of those cigars have bands on them. The agent at my desk just handed me my papers and said, “they think you were headed there to work, not play.”
So essentially, in an attempt to avoid work and go play, I was suspected of being on my way to work, was turned away, and consequentially had no choice but go work instead of play.
None of the border guards got my Yossarian reference.