Friday, Feb. 13, 2004 - 5:36 p.m.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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The US of A is a Nation At War
God I am tired. I am lucky if I don't get sick.
I just packed up and sent off my books by UPS. What a nightmare. I called up US customs and immigration to see if I could bring them with me on the plane instead of sending them. What mixed messages.
First of all, every place you call gets you mired in a quagmire of itemized directories. And then you have to leave a message and they call you back. I did this with three different departments, cuz everytime someone called me back, they gave me a new phone #. So I had to wake up and talk to customs people three times between 10 am when I went to bed, and 1 pm when I gave up sleeping. Sigh.
First some guy interrupts me when I start "I am a writer/illustrator coming to the states to do booksignings in bookstores and I'd like to know"... he says "to answer your first question..." I said "but I haven't asked my question yet. He says "Look Lady, the first question is are you ALLOWED to come sign in bookstores in the US... people aren't allowed to work in the US"... eep! So he sends me to "immigration".
At immigration, they ascertain that indeed I do the work in Montreal, and I am going to sign in bookstores to promote book sales so that I will get more royalties. No I am not being paid by the bookstores to appear there (hehe, I WISH!!). So ok.
Then they send me to call Customs. And the woman at customs goes "oh, it's books, you can bring books into the USA"... well, I've already been turned back at the border on the bus when I had books with me... they accused me of wanting to sell them at some crafts fair in a city I had never heard of. They shut me up anytime I tried to explain, and said I had to return to Canada. I had to buy another ticket. It was that or hand over all the books in order to go through the border unhindered. I am not trying that with a plane ticket... glll.
So, this lady says "books... no problem" (which I wish I could get in writing and stamped in my passport or on my head for the vigilante customs agents at the actual border). But then proceeds to say... unless they are ones that can't come in. Huh? I ask for what type of books... fiction? nonfiction? adult? xxx? hate litterature? ones printed in Cuba? She says, if it was from Pakistan. Now I am really confused. A travel guide from Pakistan? Or a book written by me a Canadian printed in Pakistan? And why Pakistan? What about printed in China, like many Canadian books are... She says "We're at War, so no WAR books"... this is still real strange. I mean really, there is fear of terrorism, but "at war"?? That affects importing comic books and booksignings?? No WAR books? And no Adult books. No ADULT books? I dunno... most books not for children are for adults... I mean my comics are called things like "The Fuckin Faggot" and "The Fagless Faghag"... which really are adult books, but not photos of booty. SIgh. I wish people whose job it is to inform people of international customs laws of their country could express themselves a BIT more clearly.
Finally it seems that porn and war books will not be let across the border. I have no idea if that means you cannot bring in the Penthouse you buy at the newstand, or the kinky US written and produced erotic novel you bought at Chapters. Or if War books means "History of WWII" or just "how to make a bomb for Al Qaeda"... I didnt want to ask any more questions for fear of getting more "Lady, this is the USA... " Like the first guy. Yeah, we know. It is sort of like trying to get into a Hell's Angels bunker. I did go to an afterhours beerfest at a biker (not hells) bunker in Sask. once when I was a bar waitress, and the similarities to entering the US are frightening.
Anyhewz... I just said "oh they are samples of comic books I draw" and she said "ok" and I hung up and decided... I am NOT taking them with me. Let UPS deal with the border. Even if it costs me $150 sigh... so no sleep, and then rush to get the shipment all ready with paperwork done in triplicate.
But beware... the USA is AT WAR.... act accordingly.
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Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
*inspired by Chaosdaily