National Security

On the way there, I crossed the United States/Canadian border at the Thousand Islands. There had been a long line of cars taking turns at 3 different lines heading north over the waters into Ontario. The earnest woman at the booth wanted to know where I lived, why I was crossing the border, for how long I would be staying, who was teaching the course I was attending and on what subject. I know that she did not care about the specifics of the answers she received, but I was struck by her professionalism, nonetheless.

Two days later, I was detoured from my expected route on the way home and drove an extra 30 minutes through the Quebec countryside, crossing into the United States at Fort Covington.

As I approached the old gas station, I was surprised. The paint on the wooden siding was peeling off, exposing the grey wood beneath to the elements. The old garage bay doors no longer fit well in their frames. The windows were clouded and dirty. Beneath the roof, where a gas pump was once employed was a small booth with a single U.S. Customs officer inside.

I pulled up aside the booth and handed the gentlemen my driver’s license:

Officer: Do you have anything to declare?
Me: No, sir.
Officer: And when did you cross?
Me: Friday night, sir.
Officer: What day is it today? Sunday?


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