Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fun times crossing the border

There haven't been a lot of fun times crossing the border in ten years, but on my way to Kalamazoo for the International Congress on Medieval Studies, I shared a light-hearted moment with a border guard.

He asked me where I was going and I replied that I was attending a conference on the Middle Ages.

He asked for more detail, and I said we studied the entire Middle ages.

"So," he said, "you're going to sit around and watch Game of Thrones."

I laughed and said, "That might be an idea, because I am an episode behind."

Straightfaced, he went on: "Because the Middle Ages were exactly like Game of Thrones."  And with a look he waved me on.


  1. That's funny. I still get people asking me if I'm going to dress up in armor whenever I mention where I'm going. I've been asked by people to give presentations on this when I describe it as my interest and I tell them that's fine, but for the most part what I have to talk about is reading books. I do this to give them an "out", which they almost always take me up on.

  2. I had a similar experience crossing the border for a political science conference. I told him my paper was about electoral reform in Canada. He asked me why a bunch of Americans would be interested in that. I explained that there were a lot of interesting things (citizens assemblies etc.) that could be tranferred to the American context. He then asked me if I was coming in to change the way Americans vote, and I had to explain that it was academic research, I had no intention on coming in and telling Americans to vote ;)

  3. Haha! This summer, after coming across to have lunch with you guys, I was grilled by a bored U.S. border guard (in the Nexus lane, no less!) about whether I was the owner of the car I was in, what my license plate said, and why I had been in Canada. I said "I was in Windsor to have lunch with an old friend." He leaned into the car window, looked at me with great seriousness, and said "How old was he?"