Tuesday, May 29, 2012

on not going to Canada

Each of the last several years, my Loveliest and I have gone to a conference at the end of May in Canada. It's part of the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, held each year, as thousands LC Canadian academics descend upon the same college town.

This year, I am scheduled to give commentaries on two papers, and to co-coordinate a workshop on phenomenology. I shall do none of these, at least, not in person.

We are instead holed up in Holland Ohio, visiting my folks. The reason for this is that my passport expired in February, which fact I did not know until packing my passport the day before our trip.

There followed several hours of searching for information on whether I could enter and exit Canada with an expired passport, what would happen if I couldn't, what options there might be for renewing a passport in 24 hours, and thinking up other options. The official rule seems to be the following: you may enter Canada with an expired passport and a valid driver license, but you cannot re-enter the US.

My pal Dave "Dave" Koukal called the border patrol and talked to an actual human border patrol officer, who said I could re-enter with an expired passport, driver license, and birth certificate. The state department begs to differ.

I considered this briefly. If I was not permitted to re-enter the States, I would likely languish in Canada waiting forthe US consulate to expedite a passport renewal. Expited renewal means two to three weeks. It wasn't worth the risk, not after I spent a night in the hospital following a panic attack.

Thus Plan B: fly to Detroit as planned, spend the evening and night with Dave and Sharon as planned, but then catch a lift to Holland and spend the week here, hanging out.

So far, so good. It was 97 here yesterday, rained this morning, is now 86, and tomorrow it will be 70. Lauren has an infected bug bite or sting. We're going to visit my brother , whose birthday is tomorrow. We're going to walk through the park I frequented as a lad, along an old Erie Canal split called Side Cut, to allow boat traffic into Maumee (my home town).

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