Sunday, October 19, 2003

If you head to Canada . . .

. . . remember to bring your birth certificate. I arrived at the airport via the Eric taxi with friend Jessica relatively early on Thursday morning. Our plane left at 10:30, and we allowed the proper extra time for international travel, arriving somewhere around 8:15. We waited in the wrong line a few times, finally found the right "print your e-boarding-pass and check-your-bags" line, and things seemed wonderful, fine, a-problematic. Then the ticket agent, in the process of checking my bag, asked for a photo I.D. and proof of citizenship.

Oh, shit, I think to myself in a panicky little interior-monologue-voiceover tone. This is not the normal domestic travel question. Seeing the panicked, deer-in-the-headlights look on my face, the woman clarifies: "Your passport. You have that, right? Or your birth certificate?"

Well, inevitably, the answer to her almost-rhetorical question was, "No." Nope, I did not have either a birth certificate or a passport. I hadn't even thought of such a document being necessary for travel to Canada. I don't think I needed one last time I was there, but then again, that was in 1994, and we entered the country on a train, not a plane. Different circumstances entirely. And then, after my bag was handed back to me and I was told to either get an original or faxed copy of my birth certificate before checking in, I began to feel like a heel. Here I was, traveling with another person, and I was going to totally screw up our travel plans. I also presented the next morning at 8:30, and began to be concerned about not making it to the panel. I hadn't read my Hotwire confirmation email closely before leaving home. Had it said something about needing a birth certificate, and I totally overlooked it?

Nope. Hotwire says a government-issued I.D. is needed. Same message as for domestic travel. So, it wasn't that I had overlooked the information - and I wasn't the only one to have forgotten a passport or birth certificate, either. Other people on the later flight we ended up taking had done the same thing.

Anyway, we took a 1:45 flight, and got into Toronto three hours later than planned, but we made it. I managed to get my paper together, crash, and make my appearance at my 8:30 panel the next morning.

I had a blast at AoIR - I think this is one of the best conferences I have been to. Then again, Feminisms and Rhetorics is this coming week, and I haven't been to that one before, either.

Anyway, I had a jam-packed-full four days, and I am going to go be braindead and non-functional in front of the TV for a few hours (Eric bought Reloaded this weekend) and then go to sleep. For more than six hours, for the first time in four nights. Oh, how I look forward to my own bed!

I'll post more conference details tomorrow!

- posted by laurie @ 10/19/2003 07:56:00 PM
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