Such a beautiful experience this Montreal-New York
My trip to New York was written and thought about with all my respect for the United States..
It was when I was a student and I still remember it (as it is a motto on your cars say, dear Quebecers).
We get ready. I don't know where I'm going. As always, I blindly trust my host. Well, this blind confidence, which akin to laziness has sometimes or often got me into these ... unbelievable situations. Come on, I'll tell you this one.
In this case, one of the first things you shouldn't do before trying it is to talk to your Mom.
Okay, I'm thinking of New York. Just saying that word still gives me goosebumps. I close my eyes and clear images rise in my memory. I already saw myself meeting Clint Eastwood or politicians like Bush. I shook hands with them, of course. And since my English was stammering, they would understand. Because they are Americans and they understand everything.
If I happened to run into an English actor like Sean Connery on my way, they would have a real hard time understanding me, they'll call a translator or even two. Thus, I would read and demonstrate to them my last essay presented to my two McGill professors, William Watson (Canadian conservative and chair of the department) and Paul Dickinson (Northern English, speaking incomprehensible English, requiring a translator in order to understand me). They gave me 98% on my test which showed that the United States will lose its greatness and Europe will be in disaster. The European Union will absolutely have to separate from England so as not to collapse. It was not prophecy but Econometrics. It was written, thought out and calculated fifteen years ago.
Damn, I open my eyes and remember this immense anguish: I was going to end up with Americans mostly? I close my eyes laughing at my panic that I experienced there…. Fifteen years ago. This phrase over and over, as soon as the subway doors open: "mind the gap".
On the way in our bus, I could not sleep. I was leaving from a foreign land (Quebec, Canada) to visit another (US) which is not just any other: what excitement and happiness should surely come: will they suggest that I stay there, a real American with the Nobel Prize. That was for sure.
Suddenly an American immigration officer yells in a loud voice: Canadians, over there indicating a small dark corridor while for the others over here indicating a seemingly dead end.
Dear readers, are you still here? I tell you, I chose "Canada", despite holding a very French passport.
As I take my first step in that direction, a tall, extremely muscular Clint Eastwood-style officer quickly approaches me and my bag. In fact, it is brutally pulled by his dog. Curious… Not that much, it can be explained with my homemade pancakes with XXL Nutella made that very morning. In France and Quebec, I was known and recognized for their taste and excellence.
Well in this damn questionnaire, to the first question: Do you have dairy products? Do you have any food products? Without hesitation, I answer NO to the 2 questions. But come on, I said to myself at the time, this fat Pitbull is way too aggressive.
Oh now this memory is so pleasant. Just 15 years later, remembering what it can do. I doze off in my three and a half in Terrebonne. Within seconds, my hands are tied behind my back before being pulled quickly into an all-white room. The air was not really breathable and smelled of detention.
Of course, I had a cap on my head preventing me from observing everything. I was already beginning to miss the beautiful atmosphere of Quebec and Montreal.
But honestly, I thought to myself, will they put me in jail, for some pancakes? In addition, the big officer, Clint Eastwood style, had left the Pitbull out of the room and he held in his hands, a Guantanamo style balaclava threatening to my eyes and my face. No window or chair around.
At that moment, a tall and very severe man yells at me: no translator. If you absolutely want one, then we will transfer you immediately. So, you answer my questions clearly. Right, ma'am?
Imagine how complete my anguish was. Did they then plan to transfer me to Guantanamo?
1st question: where will you go when you have crossed the border?
My answer, trembling and swallowing: I don't know. At my friend's place.
He replies full of confidence by turning to Mr. Pitbull, he shouts at him, politely enough, let her in.
So, my friend explains to him that we are 2 foreign students from Montreal (Quebec) studying at McGill. That I was born in France, this explains the weakness of my English. But I manage to be 1st in my class. 100% on my last math grade. I could only move my head vertically to approve of this.
2nd question: do you know Al-Qaeda? By what misfortune, I answer yes. Mr. Pitbull, tights the Guantanamo balaclava over my face and sounds the alarm by dropping my head sharply: ten great Mister Pitbulls and Clint Eastwoods are showing up. They straighten my face to bandage my mouth. And then I saw them push my student friend out of the room.
Everything seemed hopeless. In fact, I manage to say these words: “Listen, gentlemen, America is a dream and great nation for me. You have made me dream many times, with your class. Of course, I know Al Qaeda, and I also know very well that it is a terrorist organization. But this does not prevent me from knowing and studying it. With all due respect to you, I find this question very poorly put. Not you? "
I close my eyes at that moment. Of course, they were going to send me to a Guantanamo-style prison. A door opens, my eyes still closed, and I hear my friend speak and have the impression that Mister Pitbulls and Clint Eastwoods are moving. In fact, it was probably because of all the chains they were wearing that made such a noise. They were sure to take my friend, too.
And all of a sudden, I felt a firm hand in my hands that hurt just to touch them.
They unlooked my handcuffs in order to free them. And then he said to me: think of me when you write this experience. OK Sir.
Enjoy your trip, young lady, in my country, which you love so much. Okay?
I am going as quickly as possible inside the bus, full of Quebeckers…. I knew then, that obedience would certainly come, but not then. It scared me so much that I would become obedient before I was completely ready. I saw this change as a real move that I was going to have to make later. Obviously, but not now.
I was so proud to share my hard-earned pancakes with my dear Canadian bus colleagues on my way to…. New York. Honestly, between you and me, we celebrated my disobedience, having cost them four hours of waiting on the bus, placated with delicious XXXL Nutella pancakes to share. Placated or not? It's up to you.