Do I Look Suspicious to You?
(Perhaps you shouldn’t answer that…) So I went to Canada (Ottawa) for the first time last month to attend a Nortel conference. At the airport, the incoming customs woman grilled me:
(The things I thought but didn’t say aloud are in [brackets])
So she took my passport and my declaration that I wasn’t bringing any nasty things into Canada and looked them over quite thoroughly before handing them back to me. The she left her little glassed-in box, and I walked through the gate and around the corner and down the hall and through the door …
But what happened to me on my next trip to Canada (Toronto, this time) was completely out of control!!.
I was heading, along with the rest of my boss’ boss’ staff, for a meeting with my boss’ boss’ boss (and also, it turns out, her boss [which would be my boss’ boss’ boss’ boss, for those of you playing along at home]). Aside: perhaps IBM has the right idea with the “second-line manager,” “third-line manager” idea… I was all dressed up for the meeting in my new chenille (schmozzle, hossenpepper incorporated) red sweater, my short black skirt and my cool black ankle boots with red spider-lookin’ things on top. I was ready for Canada.
Gary, my (watch me now!)… second-line manager, had a meeting that was supposed to start about an hour after we landed… at a facility that was about 45 mintues away.
No problem, right?
BBBBBBBBZZZZTTTT! I’m sorry, but that answer is incorrect. Thank you for playing, though!
I had filled out my little card (no, I’m not bringing any any drugs; no, I’m not carrying huge wads of Canadian money with which I’ll upset the economic balance of the country; no, I’ve not got any sheep or other livestock tucked away in my carry-on) and had been advised by Pat, my boss, that short answers are better answers.
So when it was my turn in line and she asked me where I was going, I said Toronto. And when she asked me why, I said a Meeting. And when she asked me who I worked for, I said Nortel. And when she asked me what I did I said Web Development.
And that, I think, was my problem.
And she took out her pink highlighter and slashed her way across my declarations form (without telling me, BTW, what that meant!).
I was gamely trundling towards baggage claim behind Pat when a man intercepted me and said, “You’ll have to go in there.”
I was sooooooo confused. And then I saw the pink slashes of shame on the others’ cards and I knew…
I was UNDER SUSPICION.
I waited in line for 15-20 minutes while the folks in the Immigration Department grilled the unfortunates in front of me. And then it was my turn:
So this went on for a while. Apparently, they were trying to make sure I wasn’t an American who was taking jobs away from the Canadians by pretending I worked in the US while I was really (sneakily) working for Canadians.
…. right …
Either that, or it was the boots. ; )
In all fairness to Canada, though, I did enjoy my trip. I played pool at a really nifty pool hall called The Academy of Spherical Arts and ate a delicious dinner at a South American place called Xango. And had an extremely productive all-day meeting (well, it was a business trip, after all!)