I am sitting on the floor of a men’s room, and I am flogging the blog. How did I come to this?
Dearest Reader: let me bitch to you!
I had been planning for some months now to visit Hrothgar in Montreal. I had never before been to the city. I had never been to Canada. I wished to visit its parks, its museums, its old city. I wished to sit in a cafe. And I doubly-damnably wanted to see Hrothgar.
I examined the costs associated with various methods of conveyance. At $60, bus far was by far the cheapest. I bought a one-way ticket from Portland to Montreal. I planned to stay at least a month; I would purchase a return ticket whenever I felt like returning.
I finished my business in Maine, packed my bags, and at 7 AM I left for the bus station At 9 I boarded the bus to Boston; at 1245, the bus to Montreal. At 830 I arrived at the Canadian border. I was due to arrive at half past nine.
It is now midnight. I am still at the border, still in America. Whatever did befall me in the interrim?
A few things. But really, what comes to mind most is: motion sickness.
Within a few minutes of bording the bus in Portland, I have been sick as a dog. I have not been able to keep down solid food all day. I have been throwing up battery acid for more than half a day. My esophagus feels like I’ve been fellating cacti.
We haven’t stopped anywhere long enough for me to get a drink. Not since Boston, when I wasn’t thirsty. As a result, all I have had to drink today is a cup of coffee. Where normally I not only drink no coffee, I drink at least half a gallon of water. And, y’know, eat.
So I am basically a sad camper. But I think, hey, at least I’ll be There soon.
The bus finally arrived at the Canadian border. Hrothgar was set to meet me in Montreal at 930. It was 830. We got off the bus, us twelve fellow travelers, and lined up with our baggage. As I had been at the back of the bus, I was last in line.
Everyone else went through in about two minutes. Before they even pulled my credentials, I was detained about twenty.
The customs agent had the spiky hair and empty piercing-holes of a person who parties hard – on the weekends. He mumbled something. I do not know in what language.
“Pardon, monsieur?” I asked.
“Where are you from?” he asked. In English.
I answered him. He asked more; so I answered.
He asked me a bunch of questions. Some he answered repeatedly. I tried to give the same answers each time. I felt sure I was being tested, not to see if I had a life, but to see if my life was really my own.
I doubt I would have believed my answers. “What did you major in in college?” he asked me.
“Uhh… economics and biochemistry,” I said.
“Double major?”
“… sure.”
“What kind of music do you like to listen to?”
“Uhh… Dubstep. And chiptunes. And Bach. How about you?”
No reply.
“What are you going to do in Montreal?”
“I thought I’d just get lost. Be a tourist. Do you know the area? Do you have-”
“How do you know the person you’re staying with?”
I Eiffel-towered his mom? “He’s been my best friend for a long time.”
“Where did you meet?”
Time out of mind? “A long time ago. Grade school.”
He pulled out a bottle of pills. “What are these for?” he asked.
“What are you allergic to?”
“Umm… actually, I don’t know. But the pills seem to help.”
Basically all he has to do now is ask about my Div III and I’d place myself under arrest. Save him the trouble.
But he passes me through. I reassemble my suitcases. Then I hand the lady my passport. I’m about to go through.
Then I hand her my driver’s license.
And my credit cards.
And all the cash in my wallet.
And my insurance card.
And the contents of my pockets.
(Fuck fuck fuck.)
She disappears for about twenty minutes. I pace. The bus driver is in the next room staring fiery hate doomfucking at me. Like I care.
I am the only one in the room.
The lady comes back. She has no name, only a number stitched into her shirt. She, however, feels fine getting to know me a bit better. She asks me questions. Lots.
My birthday. My address. My social security number. Every country I’ve ever been to. Every US state I’ve visited. Everything I plan to do in Montreal. She even asks random questions, like about whether I play a musical instrument, or what I ate for lunch.
The answers of “no” and “no” don’t really suit her. Since I am, after all, a fat hippy.
(I should point out that I have short hair, am clean-shaven, am wearing khakis, a button-down shirt, and a Burberry overcoat. I am carrying a valise. I am the apotheosis of non-sketchy. I could not look more respectable without standing on an altar, surrounded by cherubim and kleeg-lights.)
Finally, she asks me if I’ve ever been arrested before.
There we go.
I was arrested. A year ago. The charges were dismissed without prejudice. Which was quite the appropriate response. When Justice miscarries all over you, the least it can do it clean up the mess.
It has been over eleven months since I was arrested, and more than six months since the charges were dismissed. I never had ‘my day in court’ – it wasn’t necessary, the charges were dismissed. For more than half a year there has not been a shadow of suspicion across with my name.
It seems that the Canadians are somewhat behind the times.
According to the Border Patrol officer, I am under arrest in the state of Massachusetts for multiple violent felonies. According to them, I have a court date in six days. According to them, I am most likely fleeing to Canada in order to avoid sentencing. According to them, I am on the lam.
They therefore do not allow me into Canada.
Now, I knew that this might be possible. Which is why I made sure that it wouldn’t be. I had called my lawyer; he assured me I’d bee fine. I had checked in Massachusetts; they said I’d be fine. I had even, as directed, contacted the US State Department. They said that I would absolutely be fine.
Apparently they never thought to ask the Canadians.
I was asked to sign a paper saying that I was voluntarily allowing them to extradite me to the United States. I read it over. It does not require that I admit guilt to anything. I sign it. They then have me take my bags out to the side of an old Dodge van.
I lift one of my bags. They yell at me. They have me face a wall. For a while. When I come back I ask if I can pick up my valise, which is lying on the ground. This gets me sent back to the wall.
They open the door to the van. It sentire back is a steel cage. I climb in. They close the door. They tell me to buckle my seatbelt. I comply, once I find the damn thing. They then open the door, put my valise next to me, and lock me in.
We drive forty feet. They let me off in front of the American customs house. They have me march in a straight line to the wall, turn left, follow the wall, and enter the building. The cop seems miffed that I don’t hold the door open for her.
They deposit my things in the lobby of the American border office. I am told to have a seat. Eventually the Canadians leave. I hang.
Eventually I ask the Americans what’s going on. They say, Oh, you’re fine, /our/ computers know you’re a free man.
But you can’t go to Canada. Not until you get this all cleared up.
What do you want to know? The way the border patrol agents have a pool over how many people will be on the bus when it arrives? The way they make fun of airport baggage handlers? The way they tell stories about how Jews are the worst travelers, because they’re the only ones who will blame a hold-up on racism? The way the big shiny government posters are crassly cellophaned to the walls? The loving care with which the bouquets of flowers are arranged? The tired eyes of the big girl with a gun who’s watching the video camera feeds? The soft lighting and the parquet floors making me wonder if a Hell full of fire and brimstone can possibly be that bad? The smell of the place? The feel, the taste? I’m the writer. I’ll give you what you want. What do you want? What do you want of me?
I ask if there’s a bathroom. There is. About two hundred yars down the road, in a little building. I go in. There’s no water fountain. There’s a big sign saying “DON’T DRINK THE WATER.” Woody Allen would be proud.
My phone is out of batteries. There is an outlet next to the urinal. I go get my charger, go to the men’s room, plug in, and play telephone tag with Hrothgar for an hour.
Eventually I get a hold of him. I apologise. So does he. We both decide that FUCK THE CANADIANS. Or something like that. With lots of giggling.
I’ll be doing my best to get to him as soon as I can. Until then, there’s not much that we can do.
His phone runs out of batteries. I leave mine there to recharge, and go to the Americans.
I remind them they still have my passport and driver’s license. They eventually yield them up. They tell me that the bus will be coming back around 1:30 AM. I will have the privilege of buying a ticket back home.
I call my mother. She is understanding. I call Silby. We make fun of things for a while. Mostly me.
Right now it’s almost 12:30. There’s no internet, but the bathroom still has a power outlet. I’m sitting on the floor and blogging. The modern world’s answer to IMPOTENCE.
I’ll be going back to the main lounge in just a moment. The bus might show up now, it might show up three hours from now. Hopefully I’ll be able to get on it. We are in the middle of the woods. The dillemma of the no alternative.
I wish it would start raining. At least then I could go outside, lean back my head, open my mouth – and get something to drink.
UPDATE: The bus is here. After processing twelve Canadians and half of a Texas men’s soccer team (all South American), I will be on my way.
UPDATE: It is 1:00. I am pacing so I don’t pass out. It would be rude of me to throw up in my sleep. Also they might think I was possessed.
UPDATE: it is 1:23. The bus ride to Boston costs $58. This is $2 more than it cost me to get from Portland to Canadia, and I will have to buy another ticket from Boston to Portland.
UPDATE: The bus driver does not accept credit cards.
UPDATE: I have $59 in cash. I should probably sacrifice a goat for this one.
UPDATE: The bus driver does not give me a receipt. Or a ticket. Ah well. He’ll be nice to me now.
UPDATE: I am on the bus. Everyone has a laptop out. I see at least 2 people playing WoW. This has reduced the available bandwidth to dial-up speeds. 14.4 baby. Baudy.
UPDATE: We are cruising. I will try to post this. Then I will try to sleep. And puke wheverer the fuck I want. Bitches.
UPDATE: Fuck Canada.


~ by davekov on 7 October 2010.


  1. Goddamn flappy-headed beady-eyed sons of bitches.

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