Fun at the Government Interview

Posted on March 3, 2021


global entry id

February 2021 rolls around and guess what, a major snowstorm is scheduled for the day of our interviews. I tried to go in and reschedule, but nothing was available. The closest available appointments were in Vermont on the Canadian border. Now, that won’t work since Vermont doesn’t let people from Massachusetts in since we have a lot of COVID.

So we brave the elements and drive to Connecticut. Leaving the house is more involved than going away for a week. We go through our safety checklist:

  • Do we have multiple Chlorox wipes? Check.
  • Do we each have our two face masks? Check.
  • Do we have our face shields? Check.

I have not been more than 10 miles from my house since the Pandemic started. On the highway, I’m staring out the window thinking:

  • “Oh look, there is a truck and some cars.”
  • “Oh look, there is the highway maintenance building.”
  • “Oh look, there is trash along the side of the road.”

Finally, I said to myself, “Nancy, get a grip. You are driving on a road you’ve driven hundreds of times before. There is nothing exciting about this drive.”

So we arrive at the Connecticut Airport. Boy, was it eerie. No one, and I mean no one, was at the airport, just several security guys standing around. They very nicely direct us to where the interviews take place. This place is like a Quonset hut in the middle of a runway.

We get to the building and there is a big sign on the door that says, “If you are here for a Global Traveler interview, we can see that you are here. Come in and wait.” Um, can one say “Big Brother is watching.” So we go into this empty building and sit.

Finally, a Customs Officer comes out and invites us to his office. He nicely said we could do the interview together. I resist the urge to make small talk since I’ve read you don’t want to try and get too friendly with these guys because they will think you are hiding something. Not talking much is easier said than done since I don’t have many people to talk to these days.

The interview process is painless, they just ask you if you’ve been convicted of a crime and what you do for a living. They take your fingerprints electronically and send them to the FBI. You are notified right away if you’ve been approved. We are both approved. Your cards will be mailed to you in seven to ten days.

Then the guy tries to scan our passports and crickets. Nothing happens. He tries several times, but nothing. So he then calls in one of his buddies to help. Nothing. Having worked in computers for most of my career, I’m thinking they should shut everything down and turn it back on. But, my lips are sealed. There is no way I am going to tell these guys how to do their job. They are big and they have guns.

Now, I am beginning to get sad, thinking they will say, “Well, we can’t completely process you at this time and you will have to come back.” Luckily, the officer says, “You are all set and you will get your ID cards in a few weeks. Oh, but when you try to use the Global Entry system by scanning your passport, it may be kicked out.” So, now I am envisioning Mr. Ken and I returning from a trip overseas, trying the Global Entry system and a red light starts flashing and all sorts of alarm bells go off. Oh well, something to worry about another day.

The storm is still raging as we leave Connecticut, but both of us are too tired to worry about it. On the way home, I tried to relax, knowing we are all set, more or less. But, then my mind turns to COVID, as it usually does. I am now thinking, “I wonder what our chances of getting COVID are after this visit?” After all, we were in an airless room for an hour. We had to take off our masks for our picture. I don’t think the officer disinfected the fingerprint key pad either. (Not that I would say anything to him about that.)

Miracle upon miracle, our global traveler cards arrived a week after our interview! This must be some sort of record for the government. We are now “official global travelers.”

global travelers ken and nancy

What adventures, global or otherwise, have you had lately?