“I’m from fucking Southern California, why the fuck would I want to illegally immigrate to your shitty, cold country?” I said to the United Kingdom Border Agent as she interrogated me in a small room. I was beginning to lose my composure and my temper. My body was shaking as my veins filled with rage. My fists were clenched and I was grinding my teeth in my best effort not to say anything else stupid. I have never ever in my life been so upset at any bureaucrat that I actually had to use every ounce of willpower to keep myself from breaking their face and ending up in jail.
Throughout the month of January 2013, I was randomly traveling around Western Europe and doing the typical backpacker thing. After exploring the wonders of Amsterdam, I decided my next stop would be London, England. I got on the airplane and arrived at London Gatwick Airport and was informed I was supposed to fill out some customs paperwork. Everything was pretty standard and I filled out my occupation: government. I shuffled through and took my place in line to await the process of getting my visa. I was next, and that’s where I met my soon to be nemesis, “McCunterson.” She was a gorilla looking, big fat black woman with a mix of a Jamaican and British accent.
McCunterson: “What is the purpose of your visit?”
Raul: “Just traveling around Europe randomly.”
Raul: “… because I’m on vacation.”
McCunterson: “Don’t give me attitude sir, I’m just doing my job.”
Raul: “… alright.”
McCunterson: “How long have you worked for the US Government?”
Raul: “A year and half. Actually, I just finished working with them a couple of weeks ago. I just put that cause it was my last job.”
McCunterson: “So, you’re unemployed?”
Raul: “I guess I am.”
McCunterson: “Then why did you write you were employed? You know that is lying on a legal document right?”
Raul: “I apologize.”
McCunterson: “How much luggage do you have with you?”
Raul: “Just my backpack.”
McCunterson: “That little thing?”
Raul: “Yes, I travel light.”
McCunterson: “Do you have a return flight?”
Raul: “No. I haven’t bought the ticket yet. I’m not sure how long I am going to stay. I think maybe a week or two.”
McCunterson: “Why don’t you have a return flight?”
Raul: “Because I’m not sure of how long I am going to stay, like I said.”
McCunterson: “Don’t get smart, sir. How much money do you have on you and how much do you have access to?”
Raul: “I have about 500 euro on me and I have access to $X,XXX.”
McCunterson: “You really expect me to believe you have access to $X,XXX?”
Raul: “… yes.”
McCunterson: “I’m going to need you step over there, sir.”
McCunterson pointed me to little boxed area where I would sit while other passengers were screened. I sat there wondering what the hell was going on and what I’ve done wrong. I was a bit annoyed, but confident whatever the issue was would be resolved quickly, since you know, I am god damn American Citizen. I would wait for 15 minutes and McCunterson would come by and with a tone that makes me understand why husbands beat their wives, asked me mores questions that I already told her the answer to. She would then leave and do the same thing 15 minutes later. I waited for an hour.
Another Border Agent came by and told me follow him. He lead me to a back room and I emptied out all of my stuff. He looked through everything in my backpack and jacket, closely inspecting every pocket. He then found a pamphlet of different types of marijuana that I got from Amsterdam.
Border Agent: “Why do you have this?”
Raul: “I don’t know, I thought it was cool.”
Border Agent: “You have marijuana on you?”
Border Agent: “Are you sure! I’m going to search all of you!”
Raul: “I don’t.”
Border Agent: “Alright, turn around and put your hands out.”
He started to search the rest of my person and pockets, luckily, no anal probing. After he finished searching me and my stuff, he left. Then came in a security guard. He informed me that I am being detained and he didn’t know the details of my case. He then asked if I would like a sandwich and something to drink while I waited in the holding area. I began to get frustrated. I am being detained now, for no fucking reason.
I went to the holding area and waited for an hour. McCunterson waddled in and took me to an interrogation room. I was heavily annoyed, but was able to contain my frustration.
McCunterson: “What did you do for the government?”
Raul: “I worked in Israel.”
She then began to ask more specific questions about what I did in Israel and I gave her some of the details I was at liberty to speak about.
McCunterson: “You really expect me to believe that’s what you did for the US government?”
Raul: “um… yes. That was my job.”
McCunterson: “Oh really? Do you have any proof?” She gave me a very mocking look.
Raul: “Not on me, on my computer.”
McCunterson: “I’m not interested in seeing what’s on your computer.”
Raul: “Who the fuck just carriers that form of information on them!” My voice was raising in frustration.
McCunterson: “Watch your mouth, sir.”
I hated her. The way she spoke in that smug ass british accent with that half-frown that only fat, black women seem to have. Stupid cunt believed that just because she said “sir” it didn’t change the fact that the way she asked and said things was condescending.
Raul: “Fine.” I fantasized about punching her in the face.
Her onslaught of questions about the details of my trip and my life continued. She asked questions about where I was from, where I was born, my past employments, criminal record, my plans for London, who I knew there, amongst other things. I told her about one person I knew there and who could confirm my plans and my story. I gave McCunterson her number.
I paced back and forward in the holding area, barely being able to resist the urge to throw every piece of furniture in the room against the wall. I was being held because this incompetent cow had never seen a backpacker randomly travel around Europe before.
McCunterson finally came back two hours later and called me into the interrogation room.
McCunterson: “Mr. Raul Felix, I have decided to deny you access to the United Kingdom because I don’t believe the reasons you have stated for coming here are true since you lied about being currently employed by the US Government. I believe you are trying to stay in the United Kingdom illegally…”
Raul: “What the fuck! I’m from fucking Southern California, why the fuck would I want to illegally immigrate to your shitty, cold country? Are you fucking kidding me?”
McCunterson: “Let me finish, sir.”
Raul: “Fuck you!” I stormed out of the interrogation room and walked out to the holding area where the security guards where.
Security Guard: “Hey! Calm down.”
Raul: “I’m fucking calm. Just let me fucking cool down.” I was trying to recompose myself and bite my tongue. I went back into the interrogation room. McCunterson continues on with her stupid, inept reasoning for not letting me into the UK and informed me that I would be deported to Amsterdam the next morning.
I was sent back to the holding area and let out big yell in frustration. I paced back and forward again, calling McCunterson every form of racial and sexiest slur I could think of to myself. I had completely lost my temper. The only thing keeping me from lashing out was the threat of going to jail for assaulting a government official.
I call my local friend on the pay phone and it takes her a while to calm me down. She informed me that McCunterson had called her up and that she asked a bunch of questions about me. The answers that I gave her matched the answers my friend gave her. I was curious to see why McCunterson still denied me entry. I asked the security guards if they could have her come by. She came by 30 minutes later.
Raul: “Ms. McCunterson, I just spoke to my friend and she said you called her. The answers she gave you matched with what I gave you. I don’t understand why I am being denied entrance.”
McCunterson: “Because I don’t believe you intend on leaving the UK. I made my decision and you’re not coming in.”
McCunterson: “I made my decision.”
She then walked away. I stood there shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I would not see her again. I regret not having called her “retarded, incompetent, fat black cunt.”
Later, I was picked up by some other security guards to be taken to a detention facility. En route there, I expressed my hatred of the UK, its douchebag border agency, and that I hoped the whole place burned down to the ground. The security guard was actually a merry ol’ fella and expressed sympathy toward me and asked me not to judge the whole UK because of “some dumb customs asshole.” We then proceeded to have a pleasant conversation and he lightened up my mood. That was until, I got to the detention facility and was shuffled into my jail cell where I would spend the night. I was unable to quickly fall asleep. The incidents of the day kept on playing in my head. I would randomly punch my mattress in anger.
I was awoken by the sound the cell door opening. It was time for me to get deported. The same merry ol’ security guard was to escort me onto the airplane. I climbed the stairs and I was the first passenger on, with my passport and documentations given to the pilot. I sat there, dead pan, not really feeling anything anymore. Just amazed at the stupidity of the English. I really wished we didn’t save their ungrateful asses in World War 2.
It took me a while to be able to think about the whole situation without wanting to get into a fight. While my bitterness towards the UK has subsided and I’ll probably make another attempt to visit sometime in the future, I still harbor a deep hatred toward McCunterson. I wish I could wish misery on her, but she’s a government bureaucrat, misery and incompetence is her life.
Read another European adventure: Pussy Cats and the Appreciation of Modern Technology