Life has changed in many ways since 9/11, not the least of which is compromising, or scrapping altogether, certain freedoms in the name of homeland security. For average, non-trouble-making Americans, though, this manifests primarily in another “inconvenient truth” of modern times. That is, the hassle of long lines, greater scrutiny and, sometimes, intimidating interactions with authorities when we try to get from one place to another. Nowhere is this more evident than at an international border. Inconvenience also can mean financial loss for Vermonters who live next to Canada or conduct business on both sides. And travelers who head north simply for pleasure often find that coming home is . . . unpleasant.
This week, we take a look at the border from several perspectives: Matt Scanlon relates an unnerving brush with “the law,” and considers his potential status on a watch list. A handful of Seven Days readers contribute their not-so-happy re-entry experiences. Ken Picard rides along with a border patrol agent and learns about tedium on the terror front. Patrick Ripley talks with Vermont truckers, who — thanks to the intervention of Senator Bernie Sanders — find their customs service much improved. And, online, vlogger Eva Sollberger visits the border, connects with crossers, and learns that Canadians have pas de problem.