dirty U.S. customs dude

January 5, 2008

there’s always gonna be the international student who, despite a bazillion emails from the office of international affairs, forgets to bring her documents when crossing the border to go home for the holidays.  this is my story:
normally, i’m neurotically organized about travel stuff (i think i drove my brother a bit nutty on our portion of the backpacking trip!  that is, until he got robbed and saw i’d dog-earred the page about “travelling through” slovakia). but in a rush, i made my way to the airport. 
i was ambivalent about going home since i had school stuff to do while visiting friends and fam.
at the airport on my way home, my int’l student visa stuff never came up.  i must have just said “i’m going home” at the inspection desk, which i was. either way, there was no problem. 
i almost wish there had been a kurfuffle though, because on the way back…  I couldn’t lie to the customs officer on the way back, who was going on break and just sent me off to “office of customs assholes”.
still, i’d arrived at the airport early.  even waiting in the first two lines for over an hour didn’t faze me.  i wasn’t frazzled about the sitch… yet.
now, usually in the airport, and other public places, everything is made dummy-proof.  not in the OCA though.
i entered through double doors and walked straight, past the waiting area of probably 30-40 ppl and their suitcases, to the desk facing me .  but there was no one at this desk and when a man gestered to me from one of the other six desks, i obliged.  i wasn’t worried at all as i approached and spoke calmly, maybe even with a hint of humor, when i shrugged and said, “they let me through on the way in?”
at first, i thought his response was a joke.  he looked serious and spoke sternly, as  he said, “you’re gonna have to hope a reeeeally nice officer lets you through”, and immediately dismissed me to the waiting area.
i waited another 1.5 hours in the OCA, until the same stern customs dude gestered to me again (everyone else was called by their last name).  this time when i approached, he looked at his screen and said, you really shouldn’t be up here yet (but i saw people arriving after me come and go already).  then he probed and poked at my choice of school, grad program, quizzed me about work, and, after telling him i wanted to prof, he told me that i’m “no spring chicken” and my “biological clock’s ticking”, implying that i wouldn’t get to my goal.  i must have satisfied his curiousity, because after berating me, he slipped me a sheet of paper and commanded me to write down my phone number.
wow.
of course, i wrote it down (remembering my brother’s advice to ‘just play along’).
but, i felt royally dirty.
i suppose i could’ve wrote down the ‘wrong number’.  i even thought of it.  but i don’t know how these things work! he has all of my citizenship records, etc!
by the time i finally left the OCA, i’d already missed my flight and the next.  then i got stuck behind 4 families, with 3-5 kids each, also trying to re-book their flights. at one point i was pacing in circles and unabashedly crying out of frustration. the flight i finally got was another 2.5 hours away!
the only pro of yesterday is (prolly cuz my eyes were red and bleary) the starbucks lady undercharged me for my drink.
total time in pearson: 10 hours!
(at least it was pearson, so much better than o’hare).
oh, and OCA dude actually called, this time with a sugary sweet voice.  i said i had a deadline and hung-up.  he also texted me to apologize for interupting my work!?  wtf!
is this sexual harrassment?
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