mousme: A picture of Darth Vader, captioned My Fandom Destroys Planets. (My Fandom Destroys Planets)
[personal profile] mousme
My landlady has, entirely coincidentally, I'm sure, decided to do some renovations in the unused portion of the house. The portion of the house that's directly under my bedroom. They started today at 08:30, right after my first night shift was over. I've had two and a half hours of sleep, and I am ready to commit murder.

The repairmen are alternating between hammering with extreme vigour and enthusiasm on what sounds like the wall adjoining my section of the house, and hanging out directly beneath my bedroom window and chatting/swearing at top volume. I don't know why they feel compelled to yell everything to each other when they're taking their breaks (they speak at normal volume otherwise), but here we are.

I was about to despair this morning (when I was still trying in vain to sleep through the racket), because the idea of multiple weeks of no sleep during my night shifts is akin to torture. I debated whether I should look into booking a cheap hotel room (which I can ill afford right now) during my night shifts, but of course that leaves the pets unattended, which is not ideal. I'd be paying for maybe five or six hours of sleep if I also wanted to feed the pets and walk the dog and keep most of my clothes at home.

Then I remembered that the timing on this might not be all bad. Tonight is my last night shift for the week, so it means this week there wouldn't be much sleep, but next week my night shifts start on Friday. If I get very lucky, they won't work on weekends, so it means that I'll get to sleep the whole of next weekend. If they end up working on the Monday, then I'll just miss a few hours of sleep during the day, which is not nearly as bad as missing three days' worth of sleep.

After that block of shifts is over, I'm actually on vacation! I will be away in another country for a good part of that time, too, so that means the landlady asshattery should be kept to a minimum! I'm very excited.

Travel will, of course, bring its own set of (very minor) problems. Mostly I'm anxious about bringing my electronics with me on the plane, in a way I've never worried before. I'm less worried about being permanently detained (my white middle-class privilege will likely protect me from the worst indignities), but now that border services are demanding passwords to all social media, I'm kind of worried that I'll either be turned back at the border (unlikely), or that they'll confiscate my phone and/or laptop. I usually travel with both, because I enjoy having the flexibility of having my favourite communications devices with me. Also, I'm always super paranoid that someone is going to break into my house and steal my computer when I'm gone. It might not make sense, but it feels safer to have my computer where I can see it. The thing is, I can't afford to replace either my phone or my laptop if they get confiscated at the border.

So, do I leave my stuff back home and not be able to communicate at all? Or do I take it with me and run the risk? If I do take my phone and laptop with me, the plan is to log out of/erase most of my social media apps, and just keep my visible activity to a minimum. I already have a Facebook account that I've made as boring and generic as possible, and I think I can get away with telling a border guard that it's the only social media site I use. After all, everyone is on Facebook, and it's not a stretch that a woman in her late thirties/early forties wouldn't have another social media account. I don't have many friends on my decoy FB, because all of my actual, true friends are generally not fans of Trump and are very vocal about it on FB as well as everywhere else, but if a border guard just happens to scroll through, it should pass muster. I hope.

Everything else I have on the computer shouldn't be an issue, I don't think. A completely "clean" computer would be suspicious, but one that paints me as a dabbler who mostly uses it for Facebook and Skype should get me through. Don't get me wrong, I am incensed at the violation of privacy, but I'm trying to choose the lesser of two evils for now. I'm going to support legislative change to roll back the interference in citizens' privacy, especially in the grey area of border crossings, but for now I'm stuck with the system we have, and I have to navigate it as best I can without losing too much in the process. 

Possibly I am overthinking this, but that's always been one of my flaws. :)

Date: 2017-03-02 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The FB strategy seems like a good one. Do you check a bag? I'd probably put my computer in a checked bag if I were checking one.

And yes, as an American, I cannot even believe we are forcing people to confront such foolish and unconstitutional issues!

Date: 2017-03-02 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I will probably check a bag this time, as I'm going for longer than a week, but my paranoia insists that the minute I check a bag with my computer in it, it will get LOST FOREVER. So I'll just have to make sure that my computer is "clean" by border standards when I go.

Date: 2017-03-02 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Seems about right.

Date: 2017-03-03 02:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So, I've just been catching up on LJ and holy crap I can't believe all this stuff with your landlady. I kinda wanna throat punch her.

Where will you be off to on your vacation?

Date: 2017-03-03 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Although I wouldn't counsel you to distrust the news and cross the border unprepared (and I'd also point out that I have the advantage of dual citizenship, along with all my white privilege, class privilege, etc.), I also feel vaguely compelled to point out that I actually had my easiest ever border crossing last Wednesday:

The guard asked me where I live, and I said Toronto, and then he asked me if I was bringing anything into the country with me, and I told him that I was bringing some of my friend's mail because my friend used to live in Toronto too, and then he just told me to go ahead.

I think that being told to go ahead was because my answer about the mail preemptively answered his likely next question (what I was entering the States for), and once he was thrown off-script, he kinda got confused and just kinda defaulted to "white, citizen; pass".

I found it particularly odd, since the fact that the friend that I was visiting is a monk, usually creates a little extra confusion that prompts additional questions. As an example, in my immediate preceding visit, the border guard asked me what I do for a living, and when I told him that I work in financial technology he asked me (very) incredulously "and you're taking the bus?!?" I then explained that since I was going to be spending the next few days at a monastery, a more austere mode of transportation seemed appropriate.

Date: 2017-03-03 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As the person above said, while I wouldn't recommend crossing unprepared, and your preparations (having a 'clean' FB account ready) sound sensible, it's very unlikely you'll run into a problem. They are by no means requiring everyone to unlock their phone/computer, and as a white woman in her 30s you are not likely to be viewed as a suspicious traveller (for stupidly racist/sexist reasons, but there you go). Have a good trip!


mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Default)

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