Thursday, February 16, 2017

Stressful Interviews

"Where you born here?"

That was probably the question I had been waiting for the entire interview. I had applied for Global Entry awhile ago, but with moving, changing jobs, life, etc, the interview kept getting moved back and moved back and moved back. I was supposed to do it just before going to New Orleans but couldn't make it happen.

So here I sit in the office of homeland security just before flying, look at a fairly irate officer and wondering if I'm going to be arrested, get Global Entry, or be sent on my way empty handed. I would have been fine with all options accept being arrested. But how to explain my life.

My life sounds very strange when it is being questioned by a homeland security officer.

"Half the countries in your passport aren't even in your application!"

"I went to half of those countries after filing my application."

"You have an address listed here. But you say you were living in Korea."

"No, I was living in the US, I was working in Korea. I was an international commuter."

"But what was your address in Korea."

"I was there for six week stints most of the time. I didn't really have an address on the ground. I was living in the US. for the most part."

"And what about China?"

"I was in China in 2010."

"No, 2012."

That one surprised me. I didn't remember being in China in 2012. It wasn't until later it dawned on me that this was the ill-fated layover I had in Shanghai which required me to go through Chinese immigration, even though I wasn't staying in China.

"And now your in Chicago. Do you have a driver's license?"

"I really need some kind of photo I.D."

I wave sort of listlessly at my passport. That is my photo ID. It should be clear that I don't really feel at home anywhere except the world. That my constant desire to go is half predicated on the fact that I like to be gone. That I feel more at home when I am not at home. That I need to fly, to travel, to journey to be in that other place, for a minute, an hour. Anytime.

"And you were in Paris!"

Paris I had almost forgotten.

In the end, even with the anger and his clear reservations he finally took my fingerprints, took my pictures and let me go on my way. For some reason, though, the whole thing still bothers me.

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