I have a terrible memory for lyrics. Also, I have a terrible ear to hear them correctly in the first place. It infuriates Dan no end when I sing along to Cher’s, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, “Gypsiiiies! Tramps-and-queens!” As we waited to board our flight from Toronto to Miami we had hummed and mumbled to Bette Midler, “Only in Miami, la-la-la Cuba!”
According to Dan I was arguing with the U.S. Customs Officer again, which makes him anxious. The blue card specifically instructs, “One card per household.” We’ve been to the U.S. three times in the past 12 months and each time only filled out one card between the two of us. Today’s customs officer wouldn’t have it. “Are you related?” He challenged us. “No,” Dan explained, “He’s my partner.” The officer was annoyed but eyed the long queue behind us, “I’ll let it go this time but next time you need one card each.” I asked why; it hadn’t been necessary last time. Dan gritted his teeth and burst a small aneurysm. I was about to explain to the officer that it should be obvious from our Australian passports that we were unlikely to have had the privilege of marriage given the current state of our federal government but the officer had moved on. “What fruit or vegetables do you have!?”
I’m Australian. I am used to not taking anything recently living or dead onto a plane because of Australia’s strict quarantine regulations. I had no idea I couldn’t take lunchbox apples into the U.S. or that having three apples without stickers in my backpack would incite such an excited response. I was diverted into Secondary Screening where I was required to surrender my small bruised red orbs of stickerless fruit to a friendlier mildly amused officer. “Do you have any more fruit?” Lucky I hadn’t packed my bananas too. Last time I’m sure of had fruit in my carry on but ate it before we landed in Washington and entered the U.S. Next time I’m flying via Iceland.