|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Sept. 27, 2004 - 2:13 p.m.
Annoying Canadian Customs
"Um...nothing. I mean, I didn't make the Al Quaeda joke, if that's what you're asking. I just..y'know...made a little crack about, uh, sex, and before I could tell the guy we were just there for a relaxing vacation he had already handed back the card. And...here we are."
She glared at me.
She glared at me for three hours.
That's how long it took to get to the front of the line.
But get to the front of the line we finally did, where a short, lumpy person of indeterminate gender asked me what my purpose for visiting Canada was.
I knew what to say this time.
"My wife and I have wanted to visit Vancouver ever since we saw Rachael Ray profile the city in her show "$40 a Day", and since I had vacation time and frequent flyer -"
"It says here you have a serious medical condition."
"NO! Hehe...that was just a joke! See, when the guy at the desk asked me why I wanted to come into Canada, I quipped it was for a sex change operation. I mean, look at these man-boobs I've got going from the weight I've put on. It was just a little self-depricating humor that I thought would lighten the guy's day! Really, we're just gonna eat some Dungenesse crab and snow and whatever else you people up here consider a delica-"
"Sit over there please." And s/he pointed to a stretch of metal folding chairs ribboning out from in front of a small stainless steel doorframe on the other side of the terminal. We sat at the very end. It was 2:30pm local time.
At 4:45pm local time we were summoned through the stainless steel portal, past several TB patients seated on stainless steel examining tables, into an antiseptic white tiled room. The guard motioned me to sit on the steel examining table, and he stayed standing at my shoulder while a doctor glanced over my Customs Slip.
"Mr. Spouse, she said, "it says here that you are coming into Canada for purposes of 'sexual reassignment'. I am not aware of any clinics in our area who perform this procedure. Would you mind telling me what sort of malady you ARE being treated for?"
"No, no, you don't understand...."
"Mr. Spouse, YOU don't understand. If you are entering Canada for the express purpose of a sex-change operation and you are not having the procedure done at an accredited clinic, you may be in violation of several international drug importation laws. Now, are you currently transporting any anti-rejection or steroidal medications?"
I didn't know what to say. I've had jokes go bad before, but never so bad that I was threatened with jail time. I almost wished I was there for a sex change operation, just so I could tell Herren Mengele what she needed to know and I could get some dinner. Instead I sat there like a lox, staring at the doctor with my lower jaw moving but no sound coming out.
Fortunately NewWifey(tm) was there also, a fact I'd almost forgotten. And she'd had enough (read: she really, really had to pee).
In one fluid motion she crossed the tiny room, grabbed the front of my shirt, and yanked. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! went the buttons as they skittered across the tiles.
"There! I know it must have seemed like a boob job with his shirt on, but look now! No scars, no artificial "baseball under the skin" look...fer chrissake, look at those nipples! If he wanted to be a woman, don't you think he'd shave those disgusting things?"
And with that, my demure little wifey whipped her own shirt off!
"HERE! LOOK! SEE THE DIFFERENCE?? My husband has tits, but they're MAN tits! He is NOT half way through a sex change operation! I WOULDN'T BE MARRIED TO HIM IF HE WAS! He's just a stupid, fat, big titted man who never knows when to keep his stupid, fat, big titted mouth shut! We're just here on vacation - VACATION! We wanted a week together someplace where we could relax, so we decided on Vancouver. Could you please just let us go so we could get some dinner and spend money...?"
And with that NewWifey(tm) sat down on the cold floor, topless, and began to sob.
The doctor looked down at her.
"She's a pretty good beard."
A beard? NewWifey(tm)??
That's when I remembered our marriage certificate.
Neither NewWifey(tm) nor myself have passports, since we both view the world outside US borders as confusing and hostile. When we decided, after much agonizing, to risk a sojourn to Vancouver, it was only because we knew we could escape to Seattle within minutes should there be a native uprising. Anyway, the point is that we also knew that one didn't need a passport to travel between Canada and the US.
At least, that used to be the case.
Turns out that, as of September 1st 2004, you DO have to have a passport....sort of. They now TELL you you have to have a passport, but if pressed you will find out that you can actually slip through if you have a number of other official documents instead. So when we packed for our trip, NewWifey(tm) made damn sure we wouldn't be turned away at the border by dumping our entire Official Papers file into her carry on bag. If they'd wanted it, they could have read the result of her last Pap Smear, the transcribed minutes of my parole hearing, or....
Our marriage certificate.
There it was, folded neatly between our Propery Lot Survey and our dog's stool sample results.
I grabbed it and fluttered it under the doctor's beak.
"Look! She's NOT a beard - we're married!"
The doctor carefully scoured the notarized document, no doubt looking for telltale forgery marks. She couldn't find any.
After a solid 3 minutes, she gave what I thought was a sigh of defeat and nodded to the guard.
"Ok, 'Mrs.' Spouse, get up. Put your shirt on. I believe this is your husband. You can go now. Welcome to Canada."
And she left the room.
It was 6pm local time. We'd left our house at 3am the night previous, so counting the 3-zone time difference we'd been trying to get into Canada for the past 18 hours. All we'd had to eat during the trek was a bag of NorthWest Airlines complimentary pretzel grains and a Hall's Sugar Free Cherry Menthol cough drop I'd forgotten in my bag from a trip back in February (we shared it).
NewWifey(tm) dragged herself off the floor, dispiritedly buttoned her blouse on, then walked out of the room without saying a word.
The rental car place thought we were a no-show and gave away our reserved Toyota when we weren't there by noon. We took a packed bus full of Korean tourists over to our hotel, the cloud of kimchee making NewWifey(tm)'s already swollen eyes look like she'd just gone 14 rounds with a kangaroo by the time we got there. Our room was still held for us, thank god, but we missed our dinner reservation and had to resort to an artsy/funky Tea Club within walking distance that only served sesame crackers and quince jelly. And tea.
We collapsed at 9pm, fully clothed, into our king sized bed. I woke the next morning with a melted pillow chocolate smeared and hardened across one side of my face.
And that was my very first day in Canada.
To her credit, NewWifey(tm) began talking to me again by the third day - much sooner than I guessed at the time. We did end up renting another car the next day, although not a compact Toyota like we'd wanted. It was a Hummer. Which ended up coming in handy when we had to pack up all our stuff and move to another hotel, since the first one evicted us after I destroyed a king sized mattress, two pillows and a bathroom vanity while trying to kill a flea.
But that's for next time.
G'night kids. Remember, it's funny til someone loses a boob.