Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Toronto Story Part I

When I asked Unfinished Dude to write a guest post while I was at the Toronto Film Festival, he emailed back something like, I hope you and your family have fun in Toronto.

Dude, are you crazy?

Do you know anything about me?

Do you even read this blog?

I am not going to Toronto with those crazy people. I’m going to Toronto to get away from those crazy people!!!!

But thanks Unfinished Dude for guesting—your Giga pens are on the way (if I spelled your name correctly).

My apologies for screwing up the title of your post. You’d think a person with a blog entitled Prefers Her Fantasy Life, would know how to spell Fantasy.

You’d be wrong.

It’s been well-documented that I s*ck at the English language. Please don’t tell anyone that I actually used to teach it.

Anyway, I have been going up to Toronto to visit a college friend for many years, and to the Film Festival for five.

You see, I live in an industrial Midwest town that is quite different than Toronto. My city was made famous by three people:

1) John Denver – he once wrote a song about how the sidewalks here are rolled up at 9:00 pm (these days it’s actually more like 6:45 pm).

2) Jamie Farr (Klinger on MASH) - boasted of the Hungarian hot dogs at Tony Pacos. Yes, real place. Real Hunky Dory.

3) Carleton S. Finkbeiner - Our mayor made national headlines by his response to complaints of unreasonable noise from residents near the airport. His suggestion: Let deaf people move out to live by the airport. Makes perfect sense, I guess. And let’s move stupid people to Alaska. Just kidding.

Yes, my town is the bowling capital of the world and home to the
Mudhens—our baseball team and the Walleyes--our hockey team.

So going to Toronto is a big deal for me. They have restaurants that aren’t chains, they have pubs not located in strip malls. They have people there wearing something other than OSU sweatshirts.

And it’s only 4.5 hours away. Of course, you have to cross the border to get there and that always make me a bit nervous.

When it was my turn in line, the immigration officer asked the purpose for my travel. Of course, I was well-rehearsed.

To visit a friend and go to the Toronto International Film Festival. I omitted the part about drinking myself silly because I’m leaving the family behind.

Oh, are you a director or producer? he asked, almost a little too enthusiastically.

No just a lover of film. And popcorn, of course.

Do you like independent film?

Ah, yes. I watch a lot of indie films.

I was involved in an indie project here in Windsor.

I glanced in the rearview mirror at the line of Americans behind me anxious to get their cheap prescriptions filled in Windsor--go US healthcare!!

Wow, that’s great! I replied. Ummm. Do you need to see my birth certificate?

No, that’s OK. God, I wish I were going with you.

Yeah. Me, too. I mean, thanks.

Have a nice day!

On the way back into Detroit, however, it was a bit different.

What was the purpose of your visit to Canada? a stern voice questioned.

To go to the Toronto film festival.

Where did you stay?

I stayed with a friend.

How do you know this friend?

Ah… I started to sweat. From my hometown.

And why is she living in Toronto?

It’s a he and ah…he got a job there after college.

A job? What does he do in Toronto?

I’m being interrogated. I’m being frickin interrogated. He’s a dancer.

A dancer?

Yes, a modern dancer. You know. Contemporary dance. Like ballet, but without the toe shoes and the gay music.

The immigration officer is suspicious. What does he think? That I’m visiting terrorists? That I’m funneling money to them. Not that I ever would, but yeah, like, right, get in line after MasterCard and Visa and American Express.

He begins to scutinize my driver’s license and birth certificate.

I’m about ready to crack. Spill it out. Tell him I met an Iranian in Toronto. And that the guy was sympathetic to the Palestinians. That I’m sympathetic to the Palestinians. Hell, I used to date a Palestinian. But I like Jews, too, Hell, I used to date a Jew. My Dancer Friend is a Jew. I used to date my Dancer Friend the Jew.

...and I met a guy from Northern Ireland. I never dated a guy from Ireland. But Liam Neeson...hell, I’d do date him. And I am a bit sympathetic to the IRA—no not the terrorism part, the cause part. Instead of Slave Guilt, I’ve got that English Guilt. We separated their country, made them speak our language. We’ve reduced their holy day to dying your hair green and drinking til you puke. I’m basically peace-loving girl. I mean, I did enjoy Fight Club…

...but Toronto is a cosmopolitan city. I’m a friendly girl. And very tolerant—I’ve had a Catholic Dude guest blog here for crying out loud. I met lots of people in Toronto. Like the Romanian Guy. From Romania. Romania the former Communist country. But I’m not a communist I swear. Although I did like the Motorcycle Diaries.

But communism? They lack a sense of humor now, don’t they?

The officer looked me over seemingly comparing me with the photo on my license. He said nothing about my new sassy hair color.

You visited your college friend who is a dancer?


How long ago were you in college?

Well… a long time ago. Blankety Blank years ago.

Yeah. What can you say? he smiled. You know I can see your age here.

I laughed. But not too hard for fear of peeing my pants.

Did you purchase anything in Toronto?

I showed him my recycled Film Festival tote bag.

You know they have over 300 films from 55 different countries, I throw in just because I’m a friendly girl. You should go sometime.

I’ve been to Toronto lots of times. I don’t like Toronto. Do you know why I don’t like Toronto?

Ah, yes. I mean no.

Because you have to pay $40.00 a day to park in a garage there.


And I’ve traveled all over the world and there isn’t another city where you have to pay $40.00 a day to park in a garage.

I glanced at the line of Americans behind me anxious to forgot their losses at the Windsor casinos and check the scores of the college games.

Except maybe Hawaii, he continued. You pay a lot to park in Hawaii.

Is that right? I nonchalantly reached for my driver’s license.

But it's worth it because it’s beautiful there.

Yes, I’ve heard. Did some guy actually honk behind me?

But Toronto isn’t beautiful.

Ah, yes.

Toronto is ugly.

Right. Maybe they should move the blind people there, I wanted to add.

He handed me the license. Thank you, sir. I started to roll up the window.

By the way maam, he added. You look good for your age.

I knew there was something I liked about that guy.


For more folks that don't look or act their age, visit Humor-Blogs.

Stay Tuned for Toronto Story Part II - Films, Fun and Famous People


Chris Wood said...


Chris Wood said...

The world can line up to kiss my ass.

Chris Wood said...

Personally, I think that customs guy was a bit lenient. I mean, your friend is a dancer. If that doesn't scream out subversive, I don't know what does. Get yourself to jail NOW!

Meg said...

Chris - OK. OK. But do you like my Hippies/Obama badge?

Chris Wood said...

The Obama badge is great - I like it!

Anonymous said...

I immediately e-mailed the link for this post to my wife...as she is someone who loved The Motorcycle Diaries, visited Ireland where she hung out with...uh...Sinn Fein...yeah, that's what we'll call them...Sinn Fein people, and loved Fight Club. I loved Fight Club too, don't get me wrong, but she loved it probably in a way as a guy that I don't get at all.

Anyway, glad you're back. I think I lost all your readers in the process, but I'm sure they'll return-- hopefully, they didn't kill you out of their readers. ;)

Looking forward to part II.

Jen said...

I would have been totally freaking out if I got interrogated by the customs people. Toronto is ugly. Looking forward to Part 2!!

Suzie said...

I was getting mad about that guy until the looking good comment but did he really have to add in for your age.

Meg said...

What? The Wife doesn't have me bookmarked?
I thought we were sistahs in Cusack!! Speaking of whom, you must see Grace is Gone.

As for my readers, I think it was my playlist on auto that drove them away. I mean, your pens rock. Why wouldn't they love a geek like you?

Meg said...

Jen - I was worried he'd discover my Billy Bragg CD. The one with "Which Side Are You On".

Suzie - I know. I so hate that. But considering I was hung over and sans makeup, I ate it up.

TroubleX2 said...

Customs makes me paranoid. I don't know why....really. I've never done a thing wrong in my life!

Great blog. Quite entertaining!

April said...

LOL - I would've been the same way! But really, they should've known you weren't lying when you came home to Detroit, of all places :)

Anonymous said...


That custom guy was totally Hitting on you girl...


Really. He just wanted a kiss. :)

Sensei said...

Glad to have you back Meg. That officer was an ass. And is it required if you live in Detroit to be pissed off at the world? I've seen happier people at a wake. That's been my experience.

Meg said...

Troublex2 - Thank you. Never been in trouble? Poor girl--there's still time!

Sarah - I think they both were. Must take the tunnel next time.

April and Sensei - I can see why you might think I live in Detroit--sidewalks rolling up and all. But OSU is in Ohio. Their mascot, the buckeye, looks like a marijuana leaf. Thank God I wasn't wearing one those t-shirts.

If I lived in Detroit, I'd probably be complaining about all the M..Mmm...Mmmm...I can't say it....the UofM sweatshirts.

Still, we are a house divided. There is one among us who is a UofM fan. But he's ten and too cute to hate on.

Meg said...

Sensei - You've seen happier people at a wake because they were probably all Irish and drunk.

Meg said...

OK. I should probably comment on someone else's blog now.

Jonny's Mommy said...

Great re-telling of the interrogation. That was hilarious. I mean, for us, of course, not necessarily for you.

I would have rambled a lot more with that guy...when I feel nervous I just babble, babble, babble.

Is it hot in here?

It was hot in here, but then it got cold. Totally don't know what is up with that...

Anyhooo..what was I saying?

Oh crap..I got nervous again didn't I.

I gotta go. Yeah...really should.

Sensei said...

Great points on all fronts Meg. Watching the Notre Dame/Michigan game the other day is all I needed to see to understand the misery.

As far as the wake goes, I'd like to comment, but I don't remember the last one I was at. Because I'm part Irish and I was all drunk.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Okay, so this is one of your funniest posts, EVER. I'm on the floor.

Now I want to hear all about the fest because I'm jealous, jealous, jealous!!!!

Meg said...

Jen - You are putting too much pressure on me. I'm not sure I can top this.

Meg said...

Jen - You are putting too much pressure on me. I'm not sure I can top this.

Meg said...

See, I've lost it already.

Must. Stop. Pushing. Publish. Button.

Jeff said...

This post cracked me up. As you know, I was just in Toronto a few weeks ago, but it was too crowded for my taste. Although I must say, it was VERY entertaining!

! ;b

The Hypocritical One said...

Wow...that was brutal...

My friend got the question::

"What do M&M's do?" when re-entering the country from the middle east.

JD at I Do Things said...

I've only crossed the border a few times, but I always feel nervous. And I'm in the passenger seat---not even really expected to do anything other than bob my head and smile fetchingly.

I hate it when they don't notice your sassy new hair color.

JD at I Do Things

Ms Picket To You said...

seething with jealousy. seething. and trying to catch up.

also, who are all these people?

Meg said...

Jeff - Yes, some of entertain ourselves with foreigners in bars and some of us with hookers (see Jeff's post).

H. One - Dang! It took me a minute to think of the answer. Brilliant.

JD - Me too. The license says brown, the photo is blond, and my sassy new color is red. And my bangs....no word about my bangs....

Ms. Picket - I don't know who these people are either, but they voted for me to put my playlist on automatic. We'll see how long I can pander.

JT said...

ROFL!! That sounds absolutely awesome! Reminds me of the first time I crossed into Mexico, coming back, I got the third degree from the not so good looking customs guy, and I was having so much fun, I was grinning like a dork and my b/f was trying to hide behind the visor. All of which was making the guy more suspicious which just cracked me up more. I love making people suspicious, it's so much fun!

LiteralDan said...

I am convinced that I would be detained and given a thorough cavity search if I was to attempt to casually cross the border. I just start sweating and getting fidgety under any kind of scrutiny.

Curse this face that has never looked good for its age!

Blogget Jones said...

Dang, about the interrogation! Wow! Dancing Jew Terrorists. Now, there's a musical I'd like to see....

:o) BJ

Anndi said...

I dislike Toronto tremendously and I'm Canadian!

This summer, we drove through customs to get to the airport in Vermont. My daughter and I were going to spend two weeks in Alabama with my Honey.

You should have seen the look the customs officer gave me when I told him we were going to stay with my boyfriend. That's when the questions started:

Is he American?
Is he American born?
How did you meet?
How often do you travel to the States?
When was the last time you traveled into the States?
What color underwear do you have on?

ok... maybe not the last one, but it felt like that's what he was going to ask next.

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