Borderphobia, Border Guards and That Invisible Line of Demarcation


canada us border crossing

Confession – I have borderphobia.

Definition? A fear of crossing the border.

I’m not talking about

  • a border of flowers around someone’s house
  • or a border collie sitting on someone’s porch.

I’m talking about the border between two countries.

Perhaps, I actually suffer from living too close to the line of demarcation. It’s starting to get to me –

  1. The cross examination.
  2. The declaration of goods purchased.
  3. The constant need to explain the where, what, who, when and why of my journey.

I cross a couple times a month. When I’m with my husband, I make him do all the talking.

Today, I went by myself. Not so bad.

  • The line up was short.
  • The sun was shining.
  • I had a full tank of gas.
  • Of course, I had my passport.
  • I even had the itinerary of my mom’s flight to Bellingham, Washington.

What could go wrong?

I pulled up the booth and held out my passport. The guard just stared at a small device that crackled in his hand.

Then, he looked at me.

“Have you had any hospital tests recently?” he asked.

“I, ah, had some tests for my heart,” I muttered anxiously, “last year.”

That’s when I clued in. Connected the dots all the way back to a border crossing last year. A crossing that I had made after a certain hospital procedure involving radioactive dye.

Back then I had

  1. a card explaining the exact nature of the test.
  2. The type of radioactive material.
  3. The date, the time, and the doctor who administered the test.
  4. A number to call for confirmation.

Today, I had nothing.

So, I braced myself

  • for the advent of a hazmat team
  • or some kind of homeland security swat force.

You can endure anything as long as they fed you bread and water and kept you away from the violent offenders, I told myself. You may be a chubby, middle aged radioactive mess, but you will survive.

“Aw, why did the next car in line pull right up behind you?” the guard interrupted my inner pep talk. Then, he looked at his device again.

“Maybe it’s that car,” he grinned as it crackled ominously, “Let’s just say it’s him.’

Really? Is this where I laugh and look happy to be alive?

Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

I grinned and giggled and acted like no human being had ever paid attention to me before.

Relief will do that to a person.

  1. a borderphobic person who just got a reprieve from
  2. sleeping on a hard cot
  3. next to an open toilet for the rest of her life.

Yes, it’s almost midnight and I still feel the joy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s