I was made aware that I have “anger issues” of late. Damn right I do. Why not? Gotta have a few valleys to make them magic mountain top tea parties seem so freaking lovely. That’s what happens, or should happen, when you just happen to have been violated.
I was making a simple little trek to Canada. You know, our pissed off neighbors above the party below? They know we have it going on here in the USA. We have summer twice a year in many locales. They have Bryan Adams and a whole lot of weather. So it’s natural that their border patrol at customs would have attitude.
Picture two baboons with the cumulative education of a Maytag repairman asking this long-haired hippie to “step out of the vehicle please” upon arrival. I was made to step away and towards a concrete bench at about midnight, with winds fresh off the Arctic pissing in my ears.
I watched as Milton and Hough picked at my belongings as if they’d found a nest of ticks, dreamy and eager to gorge themselves as good monkeys are want to do.
“Hold on a minute!” I shouted as they went for my $2,000 Gibson. “Let me open that case for you,” I said, picturing them prying the strings to one side like a bumbling goon on his first drive-in date with a loose girl wearing tight panties.
“Mr. Vahwn, I’ve handled Straggavariousous before, we know what we’re doing.”
My heart sank.
Hough was King Kong incarnate. He took all four appendages on each of his hairy mittens and shook my baby like he was choking a T-Rex to death. Meanwhile, Milton was playing “Joe Friday,” just working me over for the facts.
“Why so many lighters in your bag sir?” Milton asked, eyes as cool and blue as the underbelly of an iceberg.
“Because they came in a three-pack?” I replied, hoping I’d won the trivia prize. This was a Fall in Love with Canada as they Punk you on their national TV game show moment I concluded. These boys had to be putting me on.
“Your ball cap says, Get Lit on it … so we put two and two together.”
And I thought I saw Hough mouth the word “Five,” with quizzical eyes and realized I was in for a very long night.
I’d been in Chicago just a week prior, reveling in their annual book festival, the Printer’s Row Lit Fest … the hat has a patch on the side which stated this very fact quite clearly. The massive disconnect between them and myself was apparently more grave than I’d imagined.
“I’m not sure if you’ve ever been hooked on phonics,” I offered, “but the hat is referring to a thing called literature, something usually found in books?” I explained, hoping like hell they’d heard of such things.
Subsequently, and still not satisfied, my laptop was retrieved and they leaned heavy on me for the password upon start-up. I tried a classic Bond maneuver and hit the guest login, but Joe Friday caught it.
“Is that how you normally log in Mr. Vakkougon?”
I relented. I gave them everything. They had already questioned me about a stack of stickers my friend Dan had given me, promoting his website: Contribute To The Chaos. To these two I’m sure it sounded like a terrorist organization I was promoting. I prayed they wouldn’t find Dan’s site. It’s riddled with nipples and tattooed asses, plus a plethora of antiestablishment prose which would have me buried in an ice-cave for years no doubt, should they deem me a contributor.
Their women are layered like fleece-flocked pound cakes mostly, only showing skin 89 days a year on average. You could stack all the cleavage we have in the states – readily visible year long – along the banks of the Mississippi knee deep, and still need more river bank. I was screwed.
But then I took in a deep breath of chilled air, and thanked the wind swept stars that I’d only smoked half a joint on the drive up.
“We’ve decided to let you enter our country sir,” came Hough Friday’s decision. Just under two hours had passed before everything I had in my truck, under my truck and inside my engine compartment was dusted, wiped and inspected with their high beam lamps. I was found clean. My cavities were not searched thank God, or Milton might be missing a watch right now, but I might as well have been. I felt dirty.
“Well I hope you boys are happy,” I said. Retrieving my passport and driver’s license from Milton’s four-fingered paw. They’d missed Dan’s website. I was safe.
Two days later, I found myself exiting Canada at the same customs port. While waiting my turn to be scrutinized, I stepped out of my Landcruiser and took a couple of parting photos of the Canadian side, wanting to include it with this blog.
“I’m going to have to ask you to delete those photos Mr. Vaughan,” the friendly USA border officer said to me. “We don’t allow any pictures of our facilities, or theirs.”
He watched me delete the photos, and 45 seconds later I was back in my country. I’m grateful he made me delete those pics. Some images are best just kept below the surface, in our subconscious; or maybe in a dormant blog posting that gets buried over the years on some archive, on some WordPress server somewhere.
Frankly, I’d rather not talk about it anymore.