Call it the hallmark of a misspent youth, but authority figures have always made me nervous.
And yes, that most definitely includes Customs officials. Despite going through interviews with customs officers every other month this year, I still find myself a little… unnerved in their presence.
Returning from my latest trip to Canada, I went through the usual rigmarole at customs. Made more tedious, no doubt, by my initial attempts to always, yes always, not reveal any more information than what’s asked of me and by my inevitable, ultimate confession of something completely irrelevant and absolutely unnecessary.
Case in point:
“So,” the handsome officer asked me sternly, “you were here on business?”
“Yes,” I replied. (just the facts, man. Just the facts.)
“What kind of business?”
“I’m a freelance editor for a Canadian website.”
“Mmm,” he said, taking in my disheveled hair and ratty t-shirt. “Is it (voice lowered) an adult website?”
“No, no… Much less interesting. I’m a Business and Finance Editor.”
“Hmm,” he said, looking like he believed me less than a little. “Isn’t it true that 90% of what’s on the internet is adult-related?”
See, right here, I could have just said, I don’t know. Finished up and walked away. Instead:
“I don’t… I’m not sure. I hardly ever look at those sites,” I fumbled, blushing furiously.
With a cough that might have been disguising a laugh, he nodded at me and encouraged me to keep going.
“I never look at any online porn for more than 45 minutes at a time. Really!”
“You’re awesome,” he said, sending me on my way. “Keep that sense of humor!”
I fled as quickly as possible, face burning.
Can I help it if I crack under questioning?