calgary canada Canadian consulate chicago Essay Games international borders My life on the road passports Post travel

A lost passport, no ID, and bullshit paperwork trying to get back to Canada / Boing Boing

Seamus Bellamy

16 October, 2018
My spouse drops me on the airport in Calgary. I am touring to Chicago. A flowery audio hardware firm referred to as Shure invited me to the town to take a look at a number of the new tech that they will be releasing within the coming months.

I cross by means of safety with no points. As I lace on my boots, I’m sure that I’ve my passport. It’s in my hand as I board my flight. I place my passport in a buttoned pocket in my jacket earlier than sitting down on the aircraft. Standing up on the finish of my flight, my passport continues to be there. Upon touchdown, I pay it no additional thoughts. I am on the hunt for a cab experience into Chicago’s downtown core.

“They are saying they have no cash however Jesus: lookit alla this development,” my cab driver says to me. “It is alla the time.” I inform him that we’ve development season in Calgary, too. However yeah, the visitors headed into the downtown is weaponized bullshit. My smartphone says that the journey ought to take 35 minutes. Curb to curb, it’s a 90-minute experience.

I pay the driving force his due and step out of his hack.

Within the lodge’s entrance door to the lodge’s entrance desk. I’ve my baggage. I’ve a reservation. I’ve a bank card for incidentals.

I shouldn’t have a passport.

I haven’t got a driver’s license, both. I have never had one for years: my PTSD makes my being behind the wheel a nasty concept. Once we transfer our RV, my spouse drives. I write.

I tear ass by way of my jacket and each of my luggage to seek out the lacking doc. Bupkis. I speak my method right into a room key with out assistance from photograph identification. I enter my room. It is nicer than I deserve: leather-based, feathers and curated hooch.

All the fancy fails to return my passport to me. Calling the Chicago Police, O’Hare’s customs brokers and Calgary Worldwide’s misplaced and located workplace evokes no pleasure. I flew into city with United (don’t do that). I’m directed by their individuals to fill in an internet type. I do. If something is discovered, they will let me know.

I name my spouse. I name the parents at Shure to allow them to know my journey has gone pear-shaped. I head to mattress and fake that I’ll sleep.

17 October 2018
At six the subsequent morning, I wake. I begin making calls: Shure, to allow them to know that I will be oh so late. The Chicago Police. United Airways. The safety operations facilities at Calgary Worldwide and O’Hare. The taxi firm. I depart messages. I am instructed to name again later. I persist for 4 hours earlier than calling the Canadian consulate to allow them to know that my passport has fucked off the face of the earth. It is a balancing act: as quickly as I report my passport as lacking, it is going to be canceled. Name too quickly and I am going to have to leap via bureaucratic hoops to get again house. Name too late and the method of finalizing my paperwork to cross again into Canada may take too lengthy for me to make my flight the next day. If I used to be staying for longer than a couple of days, there can be no incentive to inform the powers that be that my passport is lacking. It’s completely attainable that after doing so, it might be discovered and, having been reported, it might be ineffective. I’m not, nevertheless, going to be on the town for a very long time. My flight is scheduled to go away in a bit over 24 hours. So, I name.

I am advised to return to the consulate as quickly as I can. It takes me 20 minutes, door-to-door.

My morning on Canadian soil consists of doing Canadian paperwork and making American telephone calls to Canadian buddies. Will they vouch for my id? Most are usually not positive that they need me again within the nation. My afternoon is filled with drug retailer pictures and pointed questions from these empowered to ask them.

“So if you get again house, in the event that they allow you to in, you are gonna want to use for a brand new passport,” says the consulate officer.


He nods a yeah and tells me, “they could determined that they want extra info. You are asking them to belief who you’re with out having a guarantor vouch for you as you are not house to seek out one. It could actually go both means.”

“So I’ve to use for a one other passport? After I get residence?”


“Did not I simply do this, this morning?” Upon arriving, I had been requested to fill out a passport software, together with ten different varieties.

“Sure, however that is not for that. We’d like that info to get you emergency journey papers,” he explains. “You must fill out one other passport software, submit it together with your guarantor’s info and pay for a alternative passport to be be issued. Anyway, right now’s going to value you $170 for processing charges.” I ask him if the worth coated the price of my new passport once I apply for it in Canada.


It is three within the afternoon by the point the consulate officer tells me to return again at 9 the subsequent morning. I used to be imagined to have been with the parents from Shure since eight-thirty that morning.

I let Shure know that I might completed off with all of the farmhands on the bullshit ranch and am on my strategy to meet them.

18 October, 2018
It’s 9 within the morning. Past rationalization, my emergency journey doc is able to go once I present on the consulate. It’s legitimate for 2 days.

I’ll want this time.

As soon as I end with the consulate, I’m left with 30 minutes to drive 45 minutes to O’Hare for a flight that leaves in 60 minutes. I’m not product of time. Over the course of the previous couple of days, Bullshit and I’ve develop into quick associates. Strolling again to my lodge, I name to make modifications to my journey preparations.

I return to my lodge, lock my journey papers in my room’s protected and fall asleep for a number of hours. Fuck the whole lot. Once I wake, I determine to spend the remainder of my new discovered additional day in Chicago enjoying vacationer. Hey to The Bean and Hemingway Home.

One thing that I eat in Oak Park provides me meals poisoning. If Chicago couldn’t hold me it’s pleased to kill me.

19 October 2018
I get up 5 hours earlier than I have to be on the airport. It’s, nevertheless, an hour earlier than I need to be on the airport. I gown and take a look at of the lodge. Life has been a rolling clusterfuck since I arrived in Chicago. In my soul, I do know will probably be a rolling clusterfuck as I try to go away.

I’m not mistaken.

As I examine in for my flight, I uncover that United’s personnel aren’t educated to acknowledge an emergency journey doc issued by the Canadian authorities. It takes 4 attendants 25 minutes to offer me with a ticket. Their system refuses to simply accept my papers in lieu of a passport.

The TSA are on the identical bullshit. This specific bullshit varies so mildly from their typical bullshit that it’s exhausting to inform the distinction between the 2.

After they examine my paperwork, I’m “randomly” chosen for additional screening. I move by way of no know-how earlier than I’m advised this. It has been some time since I have been pulled into a personal room for a pat-down.

I gown, pack and enter the worldwide terminal in the hunt for breakfast.

I choose a bacon and unhappiness omelet at Wolfgang Puck’s.

I ought to have carried out photographs, as an alternative.

I’m right here to inform you that being in United’s system, checked in, holding a ticket that was given to me by a United worker, together with authorities documentation shouldn’t be sufficient to get you onto a United flight. I’m informed that I wanted to be verified.

“Can I see your passport?”

“I haven’t got a passport. Thus this letter.”

“They checked you in with no passport?”

“We reside in a world of wonders.”

“I’ve by no means seen certainly one of these earlier than.”

“The story of this present day will probably be advised to your youngsters’s youngsters.”

The attendant seems at me in a means that means she is going to drink the reminiscence of me away on the finish of her shift. Neither she, United’s worker assist desk, her supervisor or two different brokers are versed in plugging an emergency journey doc into their system. It takes near 45 minutes earlier than it’s determined that it’s superb to inform me this. I’m advised that I’ll not make my flight, regardless of my standing instantly in entrance of the jetway that results in my aircraft. As different passengers start shuffling their passports and tickets ahead for scanning, the United supervisor calls his supervisor. It’s defined that by means of the darkish workings of blood magick, I appeared at their kiosk. What might be accomplished with such an aberration? Ought to I be purged with hearth?

It is fantastic, says the supervisor’s supervisor. Simply let him on they usually’d care for it later.

19 October, 2018: Half II
Upon touchdown in Calgary, I turned on my telephone. There was an e mail from United Airways. They discovered my passport and needed to know if I might decide it up.

Header picture by way of Flickr, courtesy of Randy Auschrat
All different photographs by way of Seamus Bellamy

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