Dear Customs Officer,
I lied. I promise it wasn't intentional, I just really had to get these dates back to the States for Ramadan. I know it's not allowed, but we need them. Sure they have them in America, but they just don't taste the same. I was nervous the whole time too, looking into those shy eyes of yours as you beat me down with questions. "Where were you?" "What was the purpose of your visit?" "What are you bringing back?" I did tell you everything I was bringing back, I just left out the fact that I had dates. ....and the dried hibiscus. ........ok, there's a ton of spices too. I guess that means it was intentional, I lied intentionally.
I'm sorry. It's just that, after you asked me if I was carrying "an excess of $10,000", and I said "I wish" and laughed, I expected my laugh to be reciprocated. I know you probably hear that line from at least every student you ask, but I don't care. Your cold smirk was not enough for me. That was a great joke I made there. I deserved some recognition. You didn't provide me with it, and so I decided to betray you, just as you betrayed me.
Dramatic? I'm well aware. I just have some serious issues with customs officials. Some seem to be kind, courteous and very respectful while simultaneously tactfully conducting their jobs. Others...others seem to have this superiority complex mixed with a nasty attitude that reeks of "I'm here to make you miserable."
Kind sir/madam, I don't need to be senselessly pounded with questions of my travels. I don't need you staring me down. If I hesitate when answering a question, it's not because I'm lying to you. I've just been traveling for about 15 hours...give me a break. When I tell you I'm carrying no cash with me, it's not because I'm smuggling thousands of dollars from my part-time cocaine trade, it's because I'm broke. You work in an airport, for goodness sakes, you should know where Sudan is. Also, I'm backpacking, so I didn't bring any presents back for anyone, thats regular. Why does it bother you that I went and came back with nothing except a couple keychains? Why do you need to know I bought these keychains? Would you like one? Should I bring you one next time? Shit.
I hear the arguments already forming, "it's their job". My response? No, no their job is not to harass me senselessly and have me palpitating at the thought of them . Their job is to ensure that no contraband of any kind crosses the border. I'm not completely unreasonable, I understand that you need to ask me questions, but do you really have to ask me the same questions that I just answered on the piece of paper I handed to you? I filled it out two seconds before stepping into your line, I promise my answers haven't changed.
Also, would you mind smiling a little bit more? I mean we don't need to be full fledged friends or anything, but maybe you wouldn't piss me off so much if you tried to participate in more of a conversation instead of treating me like I've just entered some concentration camp. I guess I am entering the United States of America, so same-difference huh?
And while we're at it, you should know where every country on the planet is, it's kind of your "job". Stop asking stupid questions.
I appreciate you customs officers who are rightfully doing your job properly. To you, I will never exert my petty. To you I will stay true. To you I will never lie...ok I might (but just about dates, and hibiscus, and possibly spices).
Have you ever had any issues with customs? Let me know in the comments below!