This weekend we went to Canada because Kevin was working on our friend's racecar. He got off a little early on Friday and we headed out. As we were past both the American and Canadian long weekends, we didn't anticipate that it would take very long to get there. And then the universe laughed at us.
Of course, the border was busier than we planned. We waited for about thirty-minutes until it was our turn. We're kind of used to this part so we didn't think much of it, beyond hating on the cars who pull into the duty-free stores in order to cut in line. (so rude and equally done by Americans and Canadians)
What we didn't plan on was that Kevin had recently renewed his drivers license and didn't have the replacement yet. He had a print-out on plain paper that a graphic design intern could replicate in his dorm room. By the time we realized this, we were past the point of no return in the lanes.
Kevin pulled up to the guard and handed him our ID's. The guard kind of incredulously huffed then said "And, what is this?". Kevin explained to him what had happened and that he had no other form of identification. (a border guards favorite words, I'm certain) He sighed and looked at the document then began typing into his computer. Kevin just looked at me and said "They are so pulling us in."
Now, we've been pulled in before. When Kevin had radiation, we went to Canada three times because that is a grown-up and responsible thing to do. They really have no sense of humor about that kind of thing. My point being is that it isn't a big deal if you're a law-abiding citizen. I mean, sure it makes a person a little nervous but the worst thing they will do is turn you around and send you home.
When he was literally radioactive, we were escorted. One guard on him and one guard on me. So when we got out of the truck, we kind of hesitated because we'd played this game before. But the guard just nonchalantly waved us into the building.
Kevin went to the counter and explained his predicament. The agent looked at the paper, looked at Kevin, and looked at the paper. "And you don't have any other ID?" Kevin explained again that the Department of Licensing took his old license.
This is when the agent held up the paper, gestured, and said quite slowly and not without humor, "It says right here Not a viable document for photo identification." Kevin said "I know, right?" (I giggled) Then he offered to empty his wallet onto the counter to show who he was. The agent politely declined his offer and told us to go sit down.
We waited about five minutes and he called Kevin back up. ONLY KEVIN. They chatted and Kevin went to go out another door. He gestured to me to come along so I started to walk with him. The agent called out and said "No ma'am, you have to stay. I have your ID."
Kevin, without thinking at all, put his hand out in a stop motion and repeated "Stay. You stay." I started laughing and replied "Woof." I heard someone else who was waiting bust out laughing and I realized that we were perhaps not taking this seriously enough. I looked at the officer and he gestured to the waiting chairs and hid just the tiniest bit of a smile.
Ten minutes later....and this is where I say that I left my phone and my mocha in the truck...I'm getting bored and a little nervous. Finally, Kevin returns and waves a paper at the agent "He said it's all good!" and he guided me back out to the truck.
So now I'm Suzy Full of Questions. "Where did you go? What did they say? Where are we going? What's for dinner, I like pizza." (totally true story. Yes, I am six.)
The Canadian Mounties are able to look up our crossings so they could see that Kevin and I had crossed many times without incident and decided we could proceed. BUT, he advised Kevin to go back to the US office to make sure we could get back IN. Thank you, kind agent, for thinking of that.
Because we would have totally just gone about our business without thinking about it. And we would have been screwed at eleven o'clock at night on a Friday if we couldn't get back in. (and here is where we made the requisite joke of "Would that be so bad right now?") But the US agent laughed and said he was fine.
We went and did the racetrack thing then headed home. Again, there was a long border wait, we had some bad border karma this trip. So, we were sitting there hating on the American side for having only one lane open and completely full. They opened an additional lane eventually but we stayed in our original one. It sped up marginally but not much. I sat there, watching the guard and thinking "Of course we're going to get a strict border guard. They're going to pull us in." But then I remembered the karma thing and began projecting nice things on the border guard.
Finally, it was our turn and we were loaded with information to get home again. We had the one border guard who was CHATTY. Like super chatty. "Oh, I've only seen one of these before. It makes no sense does it? How'd you get through?" yadda yadda yadda. While perfectly charming, we sat there every bit of 5-10 minutes while he told us about things he'd seen in his job and the restrictions of having a commercial driver's license. (Kevin has one, that was part of the weird paper copy we think)
We could feel the frustration of the other cars waiting for us. Kevin kept trying to do the "Well, thanks..." and going to turn the ignition key. It took about three attempts before we got through. Whew. At least we got through.
Moral of the story: they're not joking about photo identification. And have a sense of humor because those poor guards and agents do not have a fun job dealing with the likes of us knuckleheads.