“What is the purpose of your visit to Canada?” the border guard looked at me nonchalantly.
“I’m going to a conference.”
“What kind of conference?”
“A blogging one.”
“What is blogging?”
“Have you heard of Twitter and Facebook?”
“Kind of like that.”
“What is your destination?”
“The Delta Chelsea hotel in Toronto. That is, if the strike doesn’t shut it down completely.” I smiled and chuckled a little. He did not.
“What’s the name of the conference?”
“And what do you do? Listen to people talk about this blogging stuff?”
“Well, yes, plus it’s a good time to meet up with friends and there are parties.”
“Where are you coming from?”
“Orlando, Florida. I flew into Buffalo.”
“So you flew all the way from Orlando to drive to Toronto and listen to people talk about blogging?”
“Are you bringing anything into Canada that you’ll be leaving behind?”
“Well, I have some silly bands that I’m leaving behind. That’s about it. Oh, and probably a shitload of money.”
“What are silly bands?”
“Well, they are these . . . silly . . .umm . . . bands. Kids love them – they are in the shapes of animals and objects and people, and kids put them on their wrists and trade them.”
“Why are you bringing them into Canada and why are you leaving them here?”
“I may be having dinner with a friend in Toronto on Saturday night and I thought her kids would like them. Don’t ask me – I think they’re ridiculous!”
At this point, he hadn’t really made eye contact with me. The entire conversation took place while slowly eyed my passport, thumbing through every page, turning it sideways, upside down, as if waiting for it to turn into some type of reason for him to turn me away.
“Do you have some type of proof that you drove all the way up here to go to a blogging conference?”
“I have my ticket for it – would that help?” I reached into my bag and pulled out the printed ticket.
He examined it thoroughly. “Sir, this is an invitation for some type of Mabel’s Labels 5-minute Makeover party. Are you having a 5-minute makeover?”
“Ummm, probably not, no. I gave you the wrong invitation – that’s just one of the parties that I’ll be attending.” I handed him the correct invitation, which he treated like it was radioactive.
“Okay, thank you. You can proceed.”
And that was my introduction to Canada. What did I do in Canada?
I drove to Toronto.
Came up with an ad hoc Halloween costume of Lance Draper, Don Draper’s uglier, fatter, more sexually ambiguous brother.
I met up with old friends and made new ones.
I had one or two drinks.
And I floated above Toronto at the highest man-made observation point in the world.
- Watched a lot of Canadian bloggers have a blast learning and talking about blogging.
- Sang really embarrassingly bad versions of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Tik Tok”. I haven’t seen any video pop up of those atrocities, so that’s good.
- Met a lot of amazing Canadian women who were new to me (and I to them).
- Went to a speakeasy and had to say a secret password and everything!
- Got guyliner professionally applied and then had professional photos taken.
- Learned that shorts and sandals don’t really do it in 40 degree weather.
- Experienced how Canadians strike – it’s so much more polite than Americans!
- Rode on a subway for my very first time (and hopefully, last) ever.
- Made my own bed in a hotel for the first time (and hopefully, last) ever.
- Had a blast at one of the best-organized blogging conferences I’ve been to yet.