Let it be said I was not uninformed nor unwarned.
Flying in to Vancouver to shoot a wedding, I knew border patrol was really strict with people coming in to film or photograph. Nope I wasn’t carrying heroin but you can say I was a little bit antsy.
“Are you getting paid for this shoot in Vancouver?”
“Y’know I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve cracked hardened criminals and drug dealers before. And I know your type. Look at your bag and look at your suitcase. Those are professional bags. DO NOT LIE TO ME. I’m gonna ask you one more time, are you getting paid to shoot this wedding?”
I wasn’t sweating. I was clammy. And my throat was parched. I managed to eke out -
Fk. I’m a really bad liar.
“You realize that’s not allowed?” He then proceeds to instruct me to not use my phone under any circumstance while he goes back to where they do cavity searches, and probably runs my name through their system.
“Have you ever been detained or arrested for any felony in North America?”
“No DUIs or drug related incidents?”
I was bombarded with questions one after the other. I could’t keep up. My mind was racing, I was actually already formulating PLAN B for the wedding I was supposed to shoot.
And heavens! How do I tell the workshop attendees it was going to be a no-go?!
“How much do you earn in a year?”
“Who’s getting married?’
“How long have you been doing this?”
Question after question after question.
He runs back to control center, takes his sweet time and then returns. As stern as ever.
“So, tell me about yourself Jason.”
At this point in time, when all seemed hopeless, when he uttered these words, I suddenly saw a sliver of light. I needed to humanize myself. He wanted to convince himself that I was not going to be an overstaying alien (nor a wanted criminal).
I needed to help him be convinced.
So I told him about my three kids and their names. About how they’re like and what they like… What I do in my spare time and my relationship status. Pathetic I know, but the circumstances were dire. I wasn’t above groveling.
He asked – “Are you famous in the Philippines?”
I paused, – “I’d like to be modest, but umm (really long pause), kinda…”
Right then and there, he googled my name in front of me. J-A-S-O-N M-A-
Now if you haven’t tried already, after Jason Statham and Jason Mraz, my name comes up (results vary depending on location ;-).
He pulled my name up and up as well as some images.
“So you ARE famous!” (with a smirk).
I have lost absolutely all sense of time and people outside were frantically trying to get in touch with me.
The unexpected happens next.
“I’m going with my gut this time. DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN. Get a work permit next time. I have your name on my system and anytime you come in without a proper papers, we will take you aside.”
I thanked him profusely. Even managing to address him by the name on his shirt.
“Thank you Kumar!” Before realizing how that was disrespectful because that was his last name. (The White Castle movie subliminally stuck in my head.) That’s Mister Kumar to you punk!
NEXT: Hanging out in Vancity, the wedding and the workshop.