Monday, July 12, 2010

Blame Canada

In 1999, South Park Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, made a song all about Canada. Not about good old Canada; no, more of a bad Canada. Blame Canada. I only recently acquired that feeling for the country. I don't hold those feelings for its people or beauty, just hear me out before you judge me. I never had or have been there. That's not to say, I haven't tried. I did, in fact. It was 2009, a fine year. Ten years after the songs warning was sent to the public. I had just started my first semester back at a local community college. It was great. I felt like I was on top of the world. That was, until my Spring Break. Most students spend their parents money gallivanting in fancy cities like Cancun or Miami. I have not had the money to take a trip like that in some time. After a long weekend of cutting and styling hair, I had just enough money to support a short road trip. New York, New Jersey, mostly localish places ran through my mind, yet none of them seemed to have any excitement in them. That was when I thought of Canada. It's just at the top of New York, but it's a whole other country. I was inspired. I looked up all the surrounding cities from the border. There was the obvious Niagara. Just beyond Niagara was a little known city, Toronto. After looking up some pictures and checking out the culture, I decided I was going to drive to Toronto. This was just after a break-up, I had lost all our friends in the separation. I would take on this task alone, and I was thrilled. I booked a room in the city on one of the many many many many many travel sites on the internet. It was at this point that the great and almighty *god* tried to warn me. He made me lock my keys in the car while I was packing to leave. Instead of heeding his warning, I called AAA. They got the keys out, and I was on my way. It was about 9 pm when I had left. My dad told me it would be about a nine hour trip to the border. I'm a bit of an insomniac so I knew I could make it the whole distance. My mom handed me her EZ Pass and my two lovely parents wished me luck on my journey. On the way, I was on top of a very high mountainside. The late night was darker higher up and the lights of the city shined brilliantly. It was pretty majestic. I recommend a late night drive in upper New York any day. Around 3 o' clock in the morning I got tired. Just to be safe I pulled into a rest stop, one that had a food court, and took a short nap. It was 6 am when I made it to the Canadian border. I held my EZPass up unsure of what to expect from the border. I almost drove right through when a Mountie, or is it a border control officer, on guard yelled at me to stop. I did and immediately reversed. I tried to explain to him that it was my first time coming to Canada. He asked me if I had been drinking. I hadn't and I told him so. That was the first sign that I had been considered shady. He asked for my ID and a Passport which I had both of. He looked them over and asked me where I was heading. I told him Toronto and handed him the information of the hotel I was staying at. The officer than asked me how much money I had. I told him that I had $200 in cash and a credit card for emergencies. He told me that this was a very small amount of money. He questioned what I would do if I got sick or ran out of money. I told him my parents could always transfer money onto my account, also I was only staying for two days. The officer asked what I planned on doing with my two days in Toronto. I said I was going to check out the city-life and look at the schools. The officer looked at me seriously and told me to pull over. I had never been put through this kind of treatment before. Because it was so early, no one else was being checked. I didn't know where to park. I ended up in the wrong spot. The officer sent out to retrieve me was pissed off. He proceeded to tell me that I wasn't off to a good start. I sat in the border station for three hours being questioned by every officer on duty about personal questions that I answered honestly. Things like; I was in community college and will eventually transfer, I work as a hairstylist, I wanted to possibly transfer into the Canadian school system. Not a word I said was believed. I suppose the only reason I wasn't arrested is because I hadn't done anything illegal. The original officer that I dealt with finally comes up to me after everything and says, " So you realize your not getting into Canada today?" I'm like, "no?". That's what I'm like, not what I said. I said yes sir to everything he told me. Like the fact that my story didn't add up. Like the fact that if I ever want to return to Canada, "I better have my story straight." The officer showed me to my car and sent me on my way. To the American border. The Americans ask me, "How come they didn't let you into Canada?" I said I didn't have my story straight. A group of American officers than escorted me out of my car so it could be searched. Probably for the billionth time. They asked if i had any weapons in it. In a panic I told them that there was indeed a hammer. I had left it in the trunk when I was hanging garage sale signs. They searched my car and sent me on my way. It was 10 am when headed back to Philadelphia. I was so disgusted I broke into tears. I had a mini breakdown. I felt violated. Like I was a terrorist or drug smuggler. I was in such a rush to get home I got a speeding ticket in New York. I just wanted to fall asleep in my bed. After that everything would be alright again. Just a funny story that I wouldn't believe really could have happened. You can't always get into Canada. Not even with all the right paperwork and honesty on your side. This may be, news to you.