Bordering On Offensive

| Brownsville, TX, USA | Friendly | May 9, 2016

(I’m going on a trip to Mexico with Friend #1, Friend #1’s parents, and Friend #2. My friends and I are teenagers and Friend #2 is a Canadian citizen. The rest of us are US citizens. All of us are super white. On our way down to the border, we hit a checkpoint in the road. The patrol man asks us standard questions. It’s all fine until…)

Border Patrol: “Now, is everyone here an American citizen?”

Dad: “Well… no.”

Border Patrol: *confused* “No?”

Dad: “[Friend #2] back there is Canadian. We have our passports. Would you like to see?”

Border Patrol: “Canadian?”

Dad: “Yes, we’ve got a Canadian citizen in the back seat. The rest of us are American. Would you like to see our passports?”

Border Patrol: *looking from Dad to [Friend #2] like we’re trying to pull a fast one* “Oh… no… that’ll be fine. Enjoy your visit, folks.”

(He walks away and Dad begins to roll up the window. He doesn’t quite make it before Friend #1 yells out:)

Friend #1: “What do you MEAN ‘we’re at the wrong border’?!”

(Pro-tip: Border patrol has absolutely no sense of humor.)

On His Own Little Island

| CA, USA | Working | November 9, 2015

(I’m returning from a dog show and driving a 28′ motor home filled with dogs. I’m on a highway next to the Salton Sea in southern CA when I approach a border patrol checkpoint. It should be noted that I’m white with straight blond hair and have blue eyes and am of northern European stock.)

Patrol Agent: “Buenos dias, senorita.” *and then continues in Spanish, which I do not understand*

Me: “Good afternoon, officer.”

(The officer looks me over, and tries to look into the RV.)

Patrol Agent: “Where are you coming from and going to?”

Me: “I was showing dogs in Mexicalli, and now I’m headed home.”

Patrol Agent: “Where were you born?”

Me: “I was born in Rhode Island.”

Patrol Agent: “What country is that?”

Me: *kind of give him a look* “…It’s one of the 48 contiguous states.”

Patrol Agent: “There’s 50 states in the United States!”

Me: “I said ‘contiguous.’”

(He looked at me confused, so I asked to see his supervising officer. Apparently a BORDER PATROL OFFICER had no idea that Rhode Island is a state!)

A Dent In His Identification

| Port Angeles, WA, USA | Right | August 19, 2015

(My dad and I have just gotten off a ferry from Victoria, Canada, and are going through customs. We are on our way to Mexico for an extended surfing trip. My dad had recently shaved off his dreadlocks in preparation, since they take so long to dry and would be an inconvenience. He is now completely bald and beardless.)

Border Agent: “Can I have your passport, please?”

(He hands it over, and the agent is looking between the picture of his shoulder-length dreads and large beard, and his current appearance.)

Border Agent: “Do you have a secondary piece of ID?”

(He hands over his driver’s license. The picture is pre-dreads, but still has shoulder-length hair and a large beard.)

Border Agent: “Well, THIS doesn’t help much!”

(The agent could tell enough distinguishing features that we were let through without incident. I joked that it’s too bad you’re not allowed to smile in ID pictures, because his gold teeth would have been a good distinguishing feature!)

Border-ing On Love For Donut Holes

| Detroit, MI, USA | Right | July 31, 2015

(This is back when I am a student. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My roommates and I frequently like to drive through Detroit to the nearest border crossing into Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It is less than an hour’s drive. A quite famous Canadian coffee-shop chain, known for its donuts and donut-hole-like small pastries, has not yet expanded its operations into the US.)

Roommate #1: “You know what I want? [Donut holes].”

Me: “Ooh, [Donut holes]! You know I’m always up for [Donut holes]!”

Roommate #2: “[Donut holes] do sound good. We could go; it’s not that far. Hey, [Roommate #3], you want to come with to get [Donut holes]?”

Roommate #3: “To get … [Donut holes]? You mean, like to Canada?”

(This brief attempt at being the voice of reason falls through, and all three roommates and I pile into my car for the drive, about 40 minutes at 1 am. We get to the guard booth.)

Border Guard: “National origin?”

Me: “We’re all Americans.”

Border Guard: “Where do you live?”

Me: “All of us live in Ann Arbor.”

Border Guard: “Destination?”

Me: “Windsor.”

Border Guard: “Length of visit?”

Me: “Um, I’m not sure. Half an hour, something like that? Less than an hour for sure.”

Border Guard: *raising his eyebrows* “Purpose of visit?”

Me: “We really need some [Donut holes]!”

(He laughs at that and waves us through. We obtain our lovely little balls of goodness and head back home, which of course entails another stop.)

Border Guard: “National origin?”

Me: “We’re all Americans.”

Border Guard: “Where have you been in Canada?”

Me: “Just into Windsor.”

Border Guard: “How long were you in Canada?”

Me: “About 45 minutes? Something like that.”

Border Guard: “Uh huh. And the purpose of your visit?”

Me: *with my very best deadpan wide-eyed serious look* “We really, really needed some [Donut holes]!”

(Behind and beside me, my roommates beamed and held up our boxes of [Donut holes], which are pretty distinctive. And then we have our pièce de résistance…)

Me: *holding up another box* “Look, we brought you guys a 20-pack!”

(This would never happen today, of course; too much trouble to do this on a whim, and the guards probably wouldn’t be allowed to accept it, either. I hope the world’s gotten safer, because it’s sure gotten less fun.)

1 Thumbs

Getting Loony Over A Loonie

| Niagara Falls, NY, USA | Right | July 29, 2015

(The border crossing tolls between Canada and the US are $0.75 US; or $1.00 Canadian, which is a pretty fair exchange rate at the time.)

Toll Booth Operator: “Toll, please.”

Driver: *hands over a loonie — a Canadian $1 coin*

Toll Booth Operator: “Thank you; have a nice visit!”

Driver: *just sits there*

Toll Booth Operator: “Did you need something else? Customs is on the other side.”

Driver: “No, I’m waiting for my change.”

Toll Booth Operator: “You’re not due any change; you gave me a loonie.”

Driver: “Yes, but I’m American!”

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