Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Return From Rome or Treated Rudely in Toronto

As we head to the airport in our hired van we pass more ruins and an amusement park, part of the juxtaposition and eclectic mix that is Rome. After checking our luggage and shopping our way through the International Terminal we get to our gate. We meet a woman from Toronto in line. My partner, during our conversation, mentions that his niece is on the homecoming court at her high school. Ms. Toronto informs us "In Canada, we don't raise our daughters to be princesses." After further discussion reveals that we have a cat we enjoy spoiling and doting on she informs us "You two are such a cliche." We decide that in Canada they also don't raise their daughters to be polite. We stop talking to her.

When traveling outside the U.S during the Bush years one occasionally happened upon those the chose not to hide their disdain for U.S. citizens and all things associated with them. They seemed to think each of us was solely responsible for who was president and the policies he enacted. This was apparent during our layover and customs in Toronto. In an innocent error, I got in the customs line for airline employees. Peering down at me from her lofty perch behind the customs window, the official informed me, in a manner that inferred "How could you be so dumb you stupid American", that I was in the wrong line. But, as there were no airline employees waiting in line at that time she would process me through. Asking me if I was traveling with anyone, I replied I was, gesturing to my partner going through the next line over. "In the future", she informed me "You can both fill out the same customs form. We are not the U.S." Unmarried partners in the U.S. have to fill our separate customs forms. I wanted to reply to her "In the U.S. we don't intentionally insult guests to our country." But I thought better of it and held my tongue.

Hiding our U.S passports and attempting to sound like Canadians, aye, we continued to our gate. Waiting there our names were called over the loudspeaker requesting us to come to the gate desk. "We better go there" my partner said, "I don't feel like being scolded by another Canadian." A problem had occurred with our customs processing but was quickly resolved. Thankfully as we couldn't board the plane for home fast enough.

Several years later I visited Montreal, which I have written about previously. I found the people there to be delightful, courteous and friendly. Of course, Bush was out of office then.

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