We’re American citizens again! All of us except Jackson, who loudly announced his intention to defect at the border. Luckily, the border guards were too busy extracting a promise that we would never try to do anything like this ever again. Easiest “Yes, Ma’am” me and Mike ever said.
We had most of the day to kill, and so we killed it at Tim Horton’s. Seriously, when are we going to get one? Half as expensive as Starbucks, twice as delicious, and exponentially less pretentious. What’s not to like? Well, we learned that even Tim Horton’s for six hours waiting can be a little much, especially since both Mike and I had no desire or intention of spending another night in Canada. Especially not Sarnia. It was kinda like being in the Brownwood of Canada, you know what I am saying?
And incidentally, I may not have used all of my Canadian money, but I definitely used up all of my Canadian Karma. Our parting order of 20 TimmBites (slightly bigger, infinitely more tasty donut holes) was overstuffed to capacity because the kid at the counter learned that we were from Texas and waxed enthusiastic about our lack of safety laws in the U.S. He had fond memories of visiting Houston and riding go-carts “without a helmet or nothing! Just the wind in my hair, eh?” Yeah, I know, you never know what’s going to spin someone’s crank shaft.
When we stopped at the Wal-mart (yep, they are everywhere) for some electrical do dad we needed for the cell phone, I decided to make a pit stop. Mike said, “You go, and I’ll get in line.” No problem. I performed my Canadian ablutions and then hustled back to the line, stopping only to grab a few KinderEggs in the process. I stepped into the line and started telling Mike about what I’d scored when someone behind me said, “You can’t do that. You have to go to the back of the line.”
Now, we were next up. There was a large line, feeding into three express lane checkers. Thinking she didn’t understand, I said, “No, we’re together.”
She replied, “But you weren’t with him the whole time he was in line.”
“Lady, I was in the bathroom,” I said.
Now, it’s our turn. The cashiers are looking at us expectantly. More people in line are starting to speak up. “Get to the back!” “That’s not fair, eh?” and so forth.
I was stunned. I really didn’t know what to say. They were serious, and they were mad. In Texas, this is not a big deal in that there’s always a mother sending a child to get “one more thing” and I figured hey, we were doing good because Mike wasn’t holding up a checker. “Are we really going to make a big deal about this?” I said.
One of the guys behind the lady who originally spoke said, “Well, you’re time is clearly more valuable than ours, so you just go on ahead there, eh.”
I started to reply, but Mike pulled me out of line. We got behind another line, this one governed by a woman who could not scan more than three items in a row before turning away to talk to someone. Mike pointed out to me that the time we spent dealing with the angry express line customers would have been better spent just letting us make our purchases and go.
So, the lesson learned here is this: Canadians are wonderful people, unless they are in line. Then they are an angry mob. Or maybe Wal-Mart just brings it out in everyone up North, as well.
All was not lost, however. We found this:
The Beer Store. Simple, honest, and direct.
It would have been wrong not to bring back some Moosehead lager for our friends and family who couldn’t go with us. And so that’s exactly what we did. We first had to look at the options, though:
The whole time I was in the store, I kept wanting to ask for Elsinor Beer, a la from Strange Brew. Oh, how I miss Bob and Doug McKinzie.
After all of that, we made it back over the border and started driving as fast as we could. Jackson kept wanting to drive, but I read on several billboards that Moose are responsible for 50% of the automobile accidents in Canada, so that was right out. Instead, we gave him the job of forward navigator. “Look for moose,” I told him.
“Can do!” he crowed. “I’m just like Chewbacca!”
“Nearly just, Jackson. Nearly just.”
In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night, no moose shall e'er escape his sight...
We crossed through three state lines tonight. Jackson didn’t last long. He’s had a hard couple of days. We left him in the truck and are turning in for a quick snooze.