Purpose Of Your Visit?

A gloved hand connected to an arm visible up to the elbow emerged from the booth and then an index finger unhinged and indicated the precise spot on the pavement where my car would stop and the questions would begin.

"Where's home?" was the first.

"Edmonton," I answered.

The gloved hand had retracted, and, with its mate, shuffled our three passports under the gaze of a skull that moved up and down, looking at the documents, looking into the car, looking back at the documents. Our information was sucked in through eyes curtained by green-tinted sunglasses.

Purpose of your visit?
"Purpose of your visit?"

"Just a holiday," I offered.

This was the border, and this was the focus-group interrogation in which I provided an account of our time in Seattle. And of what was in the Thule roof carrier. And of why we were stopping in Vancouver and why our youngest son had travelled ahead of us, failing with a misplaced joke about children and their parents. And it was where I would get out of the car and walk a bag holding an apple and an avocado and some tomatoes and throw it into a red receptacle stencilled with the words "International Waste," imagining the scene in real time on a surveillance screen somewhere. And it was where the sun burned down on the cars and trucks and buses full of people with their purposes for travelling.

I drove on, now back into Canada, but feeling, strangely, not home as much as simply through another checkpoint and into another organization. And as we drove, I had my imaginary revenge on the basilisk in the booth by recreating the encounter.

Purpose of your visit?

To sing (at the 1:08 mark in video below) and find autobiography (1:59) and be thrilled by what's just ahead (2:38). To not let small sounds slip away (3:03) and to go where the music is (3:57) and to dance with my wife (4:43). To meet another creature on the path (5:31) and to consider light below (5:51) and light above (7:24) and the time we have left (8:13). To stay longer at Caffe Vita to talk to Mike, who served in the Peace Corps in Brazil, and hear the story of Zack the adopted dog that loves Fremont Avenue around 43rd Street (8:38).

And to feel the percussion of things (8:49) over the water.

Purpose of my visit?


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