Took a rainy ride to Richford, Vermont, to test out Dear One's new passport. Those Stateside border guards take themselves seriously these days, but they have nothing on the long faces and grim robotics on the Canadian side. Coming back into Quebec, after buying a bag of pretzels and finding out the 99-year-old man who used to sell Vermont maple candy out of his garage had died, we were commanded to hand over the keys while a ponytailed guard conducted a thorough search of the car.
"Is there anything in this car that might hurt me?" she asked, her Latex-covered hands poised over the driver's door handle.
I resisted an almost unbearable urge to reply, "I have a pet goblin in the glove compartment, and he has awful, most dangerous talons." In fact the only way I was able to maintain my dignity and refrain from showing unacceptable facial expressions was to take a lesson from my cat, who, on encountering stupidity of any kind, simply turns his back and sits there, stoically backwards, until the offending stupidity has dissipated.
We had been to a thrift shop where I had been unfortunately unable to resist buying five Irish linen tea towels emblazoned with Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the Changing of the Guard, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, and King Tut. These she examined with a puzzled expression for some time.
"They are tea towels," Dear One explained. "From England."
She put them down with their blue $1 tags aflutter and, according to Dear One, picked up the little red notebook I gave him as a gift, for writing down profound things as they occur to him. She read the whole thing, which must have caused her some consternation. "Most people don't have the ability to do absolutely nothing." Then, "It's amazing how everything that's flat becomes a shelf."
The thing I hated most was that a couple of hours later as I retrieved my crocheting from its cloth bag, I saw that the guard had ransacked it and shoved it all back in a most untidy fashion, tearing out some stitches and getting the wool caught in the zipper. She got her nasty little fingers in everything and I am very glad that one of the bags she examined contained a Macdonald's fried potato patty half-eaten and then spat out by the dog.