I Heart Stella.

musings on a couple of canadians.

the border patrol. what an untidy group of little fascists.

i think they take some sadistic pleasure in making sure as many people as possible have an unpleasant experience crossing the border.

my experience started out okay. a few quick questions. i think they’re required to ask them in the sternest voice they can muster.

“where do you plan on going?”
“how long are you staying in canada?”
“did you really ride that thing all the way from utah? how fast does it go?”

a couple more and he let me through. relatively painless.

virgil was right behind me, and he had jen’s address, so i pulled off to the side to wait for him.

apparently he didn’t answer one of the questions right. or maybe he just looked sketchier than i did. they waved him to the side, sent him inside to wait while they molested his luggage.

it was really quite interesting. a couple of laps around the car with a drug dog, pull out a bunch of the bags, send the dog into the car.

dog pants and wags his tail, crawls over the seats a couple of times… apparently doesn’t find virgil’s meth stash.

about that time, a couple of officers come over to chat with me. invite me to go inside and wait too. sweet. i get to give ‘em my id. and wait.

oh well, i wasn’t going anywhere without virgil anyway.

that’s when i met the realtor. he was waiting at the same time as us. he had dual citizenship, and for once in his life he crossed the border with only his american passport. canadian border patrol wasn’t going to let him back in the country, simply because he mentioned he had dual citizenship. they harassed him for travelling without proper paperwork. despite the fact that a passport isn’t necessary to cross the border. won’t be for at least another three years. despite the fact that he would have been through already had he simply claimed american citizenship. he even had the passport to prove it. but he opened his mouth… so he was detained.

“do you have anything to prove canadian citizenship?”
“i have a drivers license… i have a firearms permit.”
“but you don’t have your passport?”
“no… i’ve never needed it before. i didn’t think i would this time.”

leave the poor guy alone.

“hey. my american passport says i was born in canada. is that good enough?”

i think what bothered me the most was the officer that yelled at him when he asked if he could use his cell phone to call a client that was waiting at his office. mocked him for not complying with a standard that isn’t even being enforced yet.


contrast that with dennis (matthias?).

from scootermd… huge guy. mohawk, tattoed arms. seems a bit gruff… but fully hooks me up with a new main jet because i’ve only got american bills on me and he’s “feeling generous”. great guy. we chat about import regulations (most canadians will likely never see a stella). we talk about scooter scenes and common acquaintances (make sure you meet some of the guys in portland… they’re great). and road trips (he rode a scooter back from toronto once).

he gives me a jet, advice, and a nice firm handshake. all free of charge.

what makes the difference?

i don’t think i’ve ever met a scooter shop mechanic that i didn’t like. the gruffest, scruffiest, most tattooed and pierced chunk of humanity becomes your best friend after a few minutes discussing the cute little red SS90 sitting in the corner (he’s put more into it in gas and time and parts and effort than it’s worth. but he’s not complaining).

it has to be job satisfaction. the feeling that you’re doing something productive and useful with your life.

or maybe it’s related to your definition of success. a scooter mechanic succeeds when he gets that smallframe restored to perfect working order, or when he rejets that lammy that’s fouling plugs and dying at every stoplight.

the border patrol succeeds when they find something wrong. when they arrest someone, or detain someone, or find a stash of drugs, or catch a fugitive.

the mechanic succeeds when he makes a customer happy. the officer succeeds when he ruins someone’s day. that’s gotta take a toll on you after a while.

in fifteen years will i be the scooter mechanic, or the border patrol officer?

i hope i never have to yell at people just to make my day more interesting.

i hope i never derive satisfaction from making someone else miserable.

i hope to be like the scooter mechanic. i really do.

This article was posted by Justin Hileman on 20 June 2006, and is filed under border police, canada, mechanic and stella. If you have any comments, please contact me or leave a comment on this article.