I got off the plane in New York, since Homer was going to drive me across the border. I’d been out of the country a couple of times, but that was the border town of Tijuana.
I didn’t really count those excursions. They didn’t even check my license on the way back.
Hell, in San Diego, some people do their groceries across the border.
That was years ago, and I was pretty sure that getting back into the States from Canada was going to take more than a polite recitation of my US address. I had my birth certificate with me, of course. I removed it from its plastic sleeve and handed it to the border guard with my DC Driver’s License.
It was a photocopy, and the guard asked me about it. I explained that it was the original despite being a photocopy, and that the seal was in the lower right corner, very faint.
He eventually handed it back to me after an interminable fifteen seconds.
Then the guard looked at Homer’s legitimate, United States passport for what seemed like five minutes, due to the ridiculously out of date photograph.
Eyeing the fragile xerox, I realized how tenuous my link to the United States seemed. If anything were to happen to a thirty year old sheet of paper, there’d be nothing to prove my citizenship. I replaced it in the sleeve and put it back in my bag.
Now, nearly a year later, in the depths of my illogical mind, I have worst case scenario daydreams of me attempting to prove my US citzenship. Ridiculous nightmares that include DHS officers asking me, “Papiere, bitte.”
So now, I’m filling out my passport forms and setting up an appointment to get the process started.