Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 156

here we go.

the greyhound from seattle to vancouver was filled entirely and i ended up sharing the back row of three seats with a younger couple. we snickered quietly after hearing the bus driver's intense introduction and threats to pull the bus over and disembark any passengers who's cell phones or music or laugher disturbed any point of the ride. the two said that they'd had the same driver for an earlier ride to seattle and that he had indeed pulled the bus over several times because of voices or a cell phones. naturally, i immediately filled the entire memory of my cell phone's voice notes with the remainder of the intercom's broadcast. he also said that he'd turn the air conditioning on and i'm trying to be positive by saying that i think i felt it, but these thoughts were soon distracted by the guy who frequented the bathroom, located direct right next to us, making numerous and echoing oral deposits and returning about every seven minutes. sounds about right.

here's where the real fun started, however. this is wild stuff now.

at the border, the bus emptied and we all stood with our luggage in the customs line. i was sent for further questioning after the initial check and once i saw a mexican at the counter talking about not being illegal, a german guy who barely spoke english, and two arab looking guys in the same 'special line' with me, i knew i was in for an adventure. to say the least. i was last and they questioned me about my plans.

then he took my phone, reading the texts and asking me who recent calls were from and who people like 'eric' and 'ashley' were in my phonebook. "dude, i'm not a criminal," i'm thinking. "and these calls are from may." i haven't used my phone much since. he then emptied my wallet on the desk. then had me do my pockets. then wanted the pockets inside-out. then shoes and shirt pocket emptied. he had me take my ticket stub outside to the bus driver who signed it, granting me a return trip 'if need be'. i told the bus driver to go on without me.. i had a feeling.

"come with me. bring your bags"

i brought them to a table where border guard guy and another started emptying them. all. they opened my computer, looked through some files, and then stumbled upon my case of harmonicas, asking why there were so many and if i was a professional player. they continued to search. i continued to sit and watch my stuff move across the silver shine of the public operating table. there was a moment when i silently rejoiced, however. "there's the other granola bar. they found the granola bar." i'd been wondering about its disappearance.

this was definitely a down moment in the whole vagabond experience, but i wasn't finding myself freaking out or denying the reality and value of what was going on. it is what it is, i figured, and leaned forward to answer questions about every receipt and phone number scrap that had accumulated in my backpack's life. they found the printed resumes, the ones prepared for the winter and the canada employment search, and he began reading them out loud. i should have given him one. he is a canadian employer after all.

this went on and they finished. i think they were surprised they hadn't found drugs in the luggage of a snowboard-carrying, bearded guy. i repacked and met them back in the other room. they weren't letting me into canada. that was final. they figured i would disappear in the country forever if i got in now. no explanation on my part was worthy or even worth it at this point.

after all this, i finally got through to the guy. the strict and mighty intenseness was dropped and he answered a couple of my honest questions about the big picture that had been lost long ago in swarms of tiny, detailed questions. maybe he finally started to see things. to late. the papers had already been signed and i had 'voluntarily withdrawn my request to enter canada', therefore avoiding any stricter and permanent banishment. he told me to put a rain coat on and pointed me to the american side of the no man's land between border stations. i made some calls and thankfully shawn, whom i would not be visiting tonight after all, was able to talk to a friend of his from college who lived nearby. after walking a mile down the side of the road in the rain with my luggage, i waited in a burger king and celebrated canadian thanksgiving over a burger and oreo shake.

i'm at dillon's place now. he's the friend and is a co-host on morning news radio. tomorrow will be a big day. i'm calling fernie to see what can be done about immediate proof of hiring and then will make some big decisions.

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