Our kid-free vacation required crossing the border into Canada. It wasn’t a big deal, though it did require a passport. Pre-9/11, you could drive there with a picture ID, as long as you didn’t try to bring any live plants or extra children. You answered a series of questions and went on your way.
What goes up, must come down, so at the end of our vacation, back into the U.S. we traveled. We knew we would have to go through customs, and we don’t travel with anything questionable.
As we got in line, The Man was nervous. This sort of thing just makes him anxious, though little else does. He over explains, fumbling his words with even the simplest of questions.
“Sir, what is the purpose of your trip?” The customs officer was short and to the point. Not unfriendly, but not looking to meet a new pal.
“Well, we are driving blah blah blah and blah blah blah.”
Required answer? “Vacation.”
“Are you bringing large amounts of any currency into the U.S.?” Another basic question. “No” would’ve sufficed.
“We are only bringing U.S. currency with us that we also took into Canada. We might’ve spent some.” The officer went on to explain that they were only looking for large amounts and didn’t care from where it came.
Situations like this don’t stress me out. First, we aren’t who they are looking for. We don’t travel with anything illegal, we don’t sell drugs, we don’t embezzle money. We were just on vacation with a rental car and a couple of suitcases. Also, given my extensive knowledge of the process due to several Netflix shows and podcasts about prisons and police, I thought it was kinda cool. My husband did not.
Once we finished with the questions, the officer ever so kindly asked us to pull over into the search bay to the right. Great. We were told to leave all of our belongings and get out of the car immediately and hand over the keys. We could wait inside.
A few more questions, including, “Do you have any weapons or sharp objects,” to which I replied with a quick “no.” I was doing the talking now. While I was talking, he was nodding, because we apparently did have a pocket knife in the car. We were off to a great start.
I did remember that I had a butter knife in my purse. I assumed that wasn’t what they meant. Why did I have a butter knife in my purse? That’s a great question. It apparently fell off the table at dinner one night, and we didn’t realize it. We realized we were missing a knife on the table but not that I was trying to steal it.
We waited for them to search our car. At one point, my dear, sweet husband got up and asked if he could use the restroom. I heard him say it, but I was too late to help. They nicely told him he needed to wait until the search of their car was done. I nicely told him he didn’t need to make them wonder if he was going to the bathroom to dispose of a balloon of cocaine, so he should sit back down.
When it was all over, we chatted with the border police, who knew where Augusta was, thanks to the Masters and gave us travel tips for the rest of our drive through Maine. They were all very nice, now that their job was done. It still took a minute for The Man to calm down.
I reminded him that those situations shouldn’t be stressful, because we hadn’t done anything wrong. He said he knew the logic, but he couldn’t quit worrying anyway. Huh.
That, my friends, was one of the clearest moments of our marriage. I can’t count the number of times he’s said, “Babe, I don’t understand why it’s stressful. Just let it go.” My how the tables turn. I’m so glad they do. I’m also glad it’s not illegal to carry a Canadian butter knife over the border.