I’ve Been There And Back


 

 

 

 

Lost in thought – and other places.

I recently read a post from a young Canadian female, about making a wrong turn at night, and driving into the United States.  She said that she had submitted the tale as a Creative Writing essay, and had received an ‘A’ for it.  I expected a teen-ish high schooler, or a college student.  While not bad, I mentally edited it for a few word-usage, spelling and punctuation errors.

She wrote that, as the driver, she and her boyfriend went out for a late-night McDonalds run.  They followed the border, and mistakenly turned south, into the US.  This could happen almost anywhere along the border, but I suspected British Columbia.  Then the story said that she inadvertently took the up-ramp to the bridge in Windsor, and wound up in Detroit.  But the bridge to Detroit doesn’t go ‘South.’  It faces North-West.

She managed to find the entrance to the tunnel to return to Canada, to the north(?), but it was closed for maintenance.  After some more driving and searching, she managed to get back on the bridge.  The Industrially-Polite Canadian Border guard listened to their story, and let them back in without passports.  The McDonalds was now directly in front of them, but they’d spent their burger-bucks on two bridge tolls.

When I viewed the post, I did so, on the WordPress reader.  When I commented, it took me to her actual site.  There I was met with a photo of a partially-clad, full-figured young female, and claims that she was a model, an actress, and an author (?), with 20,000 Facebook followers.  A sort of Canadian-Lite equivalent to the Kardashians – famous for being famous.

I can’t fault her for her little mishap.  Something very similar occurred to us.  Back before 9/11 and passports, the wife and I spent a weekend in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  After checking in Friday night, and eating dinner, we drove on down to the end of the big highway to Fort Erie, ON, and began looking for the terminus of the romantic Riverside Drive, which would take us back to our hotel.

Somehow, a wrong turn in the darkness took us into the one-way driveway to the Duty Free shop.  There is no bridge toll from Canada to the States – nowhere to stop – nowhere to turn around.  With no other exits, we were soon in Buffalo – almost.

As soon as I got off the bridge, I immediately slowed and pulled onto the road shoulder on the fast side.  I carefully dodged a few orange, nylon traffic cones, drove across the paved median, and butted into the line of Canada-bound cars.  There is a bridge toll to cross from the US to Canada, so I was soon confronted by an American Border guard.

I carefully explained what had just happened, and said that I just wanted to get back.  They might as well have robots doing the job.  Do not distract a public servant from his well-rehearsed spiel.  I had just related what had occurred.
“How long have you been in the United States?”
“Uh, going on ninety seconds now.”
“Did you purchase anything while you were in the country?”
(What…. from the trunk of your car, parked over there?)  “No!”
“Very well, away you go then.”

I was happy to pay a(n American) dollar to return to the land of socialized medicine.  We postponed any moonlight trips up the Riverside Drive, until we were sure that we’d found it in the daylight.  Over the years, we have been a number of places that we did not intend to be, but that was the only time that it was in a foreign country.  I’m back, and ain’tcha glad??!  😉