Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My welcoming committee to the US part III

My luggage was all taken out and searched by Officer T who was now wearing latex gloves while sorting through my belongings. After sorting my things into three main piles, Officer T instructed me to pack up my belongings in the pile containing clothing. The other two piles consisted of CDs, DVDs, my laptop, cell phone, Ipod, and digital still camera. The other pile consisted of my magazines, papers, notebooks, and film documents. Officer T collected both piles with difficulty and carried them to another area in which I never saw.

I was made to wait in a general holding area where others were being singled out from the customs line. I sat there for about two hours while Officer T, backed up data and made photo copies.

About 45 minutes into my waiting I asked another Homeland Security agent whether I could use a bathroom or not. A blank face fell on this agent.
“Let me check,” he said. I wondered how many people were denied this request and hope I wasn't one of them. A few minutes of waiting inspired me to display to this man that I had a plastic water bottle and I was ready to use it. I got his attention and shook the bottle over my head.

“Any word yet on the potty break?” I said sounding like Ward Cleaver.

After checking with my holding officer who was in an undisclosed location at the time the other agent instructed me to use the bathroom within the customs area. I was given a foot long red plastic square with the words “BATHROOM PASS” on it to take with me to the lavatory.

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