Can you see me??!?!??!

Friday, March 26, 2004

And I thought I had it bad.

"Where have you been?"
"Phoenix, Arizona."
"When did you leave Canada?"
"Five days ago."
"OK." She handed me back my passport. "One more stop. Immigration."

I headed for the sign that said immigration. I waited in the slightly warm room among sixty other immigrants, whilst three immigration officials barely raised a sweat dealing with people at their leisure. The crowd was restless. Even the 6 suited, name badged, youthful elders in front of me were questioning why they had been sent to the line.

I felt like an old hand. Even though I was pissed off that I had to be here, I knew better than to question the lady who'd sent me here. I was tired, and growing shittier by the second, but refused to let my demeanour indicate this. I have long since realised that everyone is possibly at their most stressed when placed in an environment that is deceptive by design, is intended to increase instability and is generally unpleasant.

There were brief flashes of humanity as we all waited. A mexican child returned a toy to a chinese baby. People cheered when 3 more staff (all trainees) were added to the service counters. One of the elders spoke chinese to a chinese guy but was ignored, and I saw a guy who used to be on Neighbours in the cubicle adjacent to me.

My time arrived. I had only briefly entered the realm of get-my-story-straight. I knew I was fine. I had the damn work permit.

I got to the counter. The man opened my passport. He unfolded my work permit. He looked through my passport. He reviewed my work permit.

"Where have you been?"
"Phoenix, Arizona."
"When did you leave Canada?"
"5 days ago."
"Why were you in Arizona?"
"I attended a conference."

The man opened my passport. He unfolded my work permit. He looked through my passport. He reviewed my work permit. He typed something into the computer.

"Seems like you had a bit of trouble getting your work permit."
He looks at me. I look at him.
"Where would you like me to start?" I say.

We both knew there was nothing wrong, but still he kept me there for about twenty minutes playing that stupid game that border people seem to be employed to play. He had to check with someone else about what the correct process was... It was stamp the alien-with-the-obviously-legitimate-work-permit-in-her-passport's passport, then let said alien go. So he stamped my passport. "Arrived March 24."

Then today I hear about Togo the parrot. Togo is a resident of the United States. Unbeknownst to Togo, he should have acquired the appropriate paperwork to be allowed entry into Canada. He was refused entry at the border. Togo put up a fight, and is now serving 6 years at Guantanamo Bay.

Posted at 7:00 am
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