Big Brother really is watching... and listening 

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Riinngg...

Answer the phone, mom.

Riinngg...

C'mon, mom... I know it says "British Columbia calling."

Riinngg...

I know British Columbia is in a foreign country.

Riinngg...

Yes, the NSA will be logging this call to you in case it turns out I'm a terrorist.

"Hello, nobody is available to answer your call at this time. Please..."

Dammit!

Riinngg...

I know you're there, mom. Answer the phone.

Riinngg...

ANSWER THE PHONE. NOBODY'S LISTENING IN!

Riinngg...

Mom, it's an emergency. I'm dying. Help me... help me.

"Hello, nobody is..."

Ai Caramba!!!

Doesn't she listen to the news or read the paper any more? Didn't she hear The Obama say, "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls." Of course, that doesn't mean they aren't logging the call, the number called from — OMG, that's my number! — the time and date and duration of the call.

Wait a minute. How will they know she didn't answer? How will they know I only got her machine? What if they think these 20 second calls were some kind of code to trigger the sleeper cell she's organized at her Retirement Living Community, the Raging Grannies and their Snoozing Gramps? Oh dear lord, what if some act of terrorism takes place shortly after my calls? Somewhere nearby? She'll probably wind up in some black hole interrogation camp the NSA is running in the desert instead of playing bridge with her cronies and plotting the overthrow of whomever's in charge of preparing that revolting flan they have for desert in the dining room once a week.

"Vat es the name of your operative in... Canada."

"I never had an operation in Canada."

"Ve know der are calls to your number at least once a week for... let's zee... since ve started keeping data. Vat es his name."

And since they know the number I called from, even though it isn't listed as Smilin' Dog Manor in the local phone book, they'll know it's me and I'll likely be taken into the, "We just have a few questions for you," room the next time I try to cross the border into the U.S.

Funny thing. I was taken into that room once at YVR and treated like a suspect. At least until they found my expired U.S. passport tucked behind my current Canadian passport in my briefcase. At that point, everything changed.

"You're American?"

"Only by birth," said somewhat defensively.

"How come you didn't say so? Why are you trying to palm yourself off as a... Canadian?" Said with distain.

"My U.S. passport is expired. I haven't gotten around to renewing it since my Canadian one is current."

"You'd rather be thought of as... Canadian?"

"Well, certainly while I'm in Canada. Although I'm not sure I'm fooling anyone there."

"You remember the secret handshake?"

"Of course."

"Welcome home. Sorry for the inconvenience."

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