Nick and I took a weekend trip to Portland, Oregon. We were really stoked to take our new car on it’s very first road trip to the US.
I am a complete wreck when it comes to crossing the US border and I have no idea why. I’ve got my passport, a place to stay, a return date and no reason to be worried and yet I am totally overcome with unsubstantiated fear every time I head south. As soon as we are through the gates and onto I-5 I am cool as a cucumber, but before that it’s all sweaty palms and crazy eyes.
Nick knows about this little…err…problem that I have and he tells me what’s what: my job is to not say anything, look straight ahead and hold onto my hands in my lap. No driver’s seat for me. He is convinced that if I answer any questions it’ll be an instant strip search for the both of us.
This phenomenon also occurs at customs in the airport. Once I was so visibly nervous when I went through customs to the states that the customs officer asked me if I had a fear of flying. I just smiled and said nothing. He assumed this meant yes and gave me a bunch of tips on relaxing for the flight. Bless his heart! I don’t mind flying at all, in fact I think small engine planes are fun (as long as I’m not vomiting from crazy turbulence), I was just scared to death for absolutely no good reason.
My anxiety around US border crossings has gotten to the point where I no longer remember what I am actually afraid of. Now I just have the fear that I will react in a totally bizarre way just because I am so nervous.
These are the kind of scenarios that keep me up at night. Keep in mind that these are not the ‘tricky’ questions customs officers usually ask, these are the easy questions: