Our Future In My Past
My Traveling Companion and I were among the youngest adults riding the catamaran ferry from Bar Harbor, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; most of our shipmates were retirees on package tours. Perhaps our relative youth is what made the customs guy view us with a gimlet eye (young’uns under 60 are so prone to hellraising); more likely, it was one of those random inspections done from time to time so customs agents don’t have a chance to get bored. They checked my eyeglasses for explosive residue and went over every square inch of the front seat, even inspecting the ancient cigarette ash in the ashtray (last used about two years ago). However, they only opened two of our seven pieces of luggage, and left my purse entirely alone.
So it was almost an hour between the time we drove off the ferry and the time we were allowed to enter Canada proper. Maybe that’s why we forgot to stop in Yarmouth for a currency exchange; about half an hour later, as we drove toward Halifax, we realized that we were half-starved but couldn’t visit any restaurants because the only legal currency we had on us was a single Canadian penny mixed in with the American ones in my change purse.
“We’re starving, and our car’s running low on gas, and we can’t buy any of life’s necessities because our wallets are stuffed with useless American dollars,” I said. “This is excellent practice for the future if Congress passes that Wall Street bailout.” And sure enough they did, so let me tell you, my fellow Americans: I’ve lived through our future and it really, really sucks.
At least we could find a local bank willing to trade American currency for something spendable. For now.
By the way, there’s a good chance American customs will arrest me when I try re-entering the country of my birth in a couple of days, because I went to Costco and bought three cases of Big Turk candy bars (which are not sold in America) and given the mentality of modern American law enforcement they’ll probably think “Turkish delight equals Muslim with a bomb equals she’s a goddamned terrorist.” So if you don’t hear from me within seven days, please write irate letters to Gitmo demanding my release.