I was 19, had just been dumped by my fiance (“I love you, but I’m not in love with you. I don’t want this to change our relationship….”), and was feeling pretty down. One night, catching the bus home from work, a guy I’ll call Chong struck up a conversation with me. He seemed pretty nice, and, after a few days of riding the bus together and some nice conversations, he asked me out and I accepted. Since neither of us drove at the time, he suggested we double date with his best friend, who I’ll call Cheech. It sounded like a good idea.
We decided to go over to Windsor, Ontario for dinner then to a couple of nightclubs to dance. They picked me up first, then went to pick up Cheech’s girlfriend. When we got to Cheech’s girlfriend’s house, the two of them got into a huge screaming match on the front lawn. Chong was as mortified as I was, and kept apologizing, but never tried to break up the argument, which ended with Cheech getting back in the car and yelling, “Well, f**k you, b***ch!” as we drove off. I said we should call it a night and go home, but Cheech and Chong insisted everything was okay. “They argue like that all the time,” Chong whispered to me. Cheech, who seemed to have calmed down, remarked he was all right, that the argument was them breaking up, so the night would be his first as a free man. This was the moment I should’ve insisted on going home, but in a moment I’ll forever regret, I didn’t, and we headed to the border.
When we got to the bridge to Canada, Chong paid the toll. (Cheech said he didn’t have any change, and Chong refused my offer to pay.) When we got to the other side, the agent asked where we were going for the night.
“We’re going to Canada, man,” said Cheech, “Where do you think?”
Needless to say, we were told to pull over so Customs could inspect our vehicle. Chong and I asked Cheech what his problem was, and he claimed he was only joking. I asked Chong if his friend was always like this. He said no, that he was a stand-up, good guy…just as a Customs agent pulled a baggie with marijuana and some rolling papers out of Cheech’s glove compartment.
“Aww, man,” said Cheech in a loud, defiant voice, “That ain’t hardly a lot of weed…hell, it’s mostly seeds.”
They took us in to the office and separated us. I was led away by two women who told me they needed to do a search of my clothing. I’d never experienced anything like this (I’ve never used drugs, didn’t drink at the time because I was underage, have never been arrested or detained, don’t have a criminal record, and had never had any problems going to and from Canada up until this point), so I said okay and asked where the changing room was. They both looked at me, stone faced, and that’s when I realized what was coming next.
One strip search and interrogation later (which included remarks like, “Just where the hell did you meet THOSE two, anyway?” and “I sure hope this is your first and last date with him….“), I was released into a waiting room where Chong was sitting. He’d been strip searched, too. He kept apologizing. I kept saying, “Apology accepted, take me home.” A few minutes later, Cheech came out into the waiting room, where he promptly tried to steal some brass hardware that mounted a document about “YOUR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES” to the waiting room wall. (“Yo, dog, they got gold screws up in this mug!”) Chong smacked him on the head and told him to knock it off. I sat on the other side of the room, furious, frightened, and humiliated.
The border officials decided to let us go. We were denied entry into Canada that night and let off with a warning through some miracle. As we got in the car, I said only one thing: “Take me home.” I was too scared to ask the officials if I could call a cab and too embarrassed to try to call a friend or a family member for a ride. Chong kept apologizing. I kept saying, “Take me home.”
Finally, Cheech chimed in. “Yo, we know the car is clean now. Let’s try the tunnel!”
The last thing I ever said to Cheech was, “F**k you. Take me home. NOW.”
When we pulled up to my house, Chong insisted on walking me to the door, where he tried to give me good night kiss and was shocked when I pushed him away.
“Look,” he said as I unlocked the door, “I know this was bad, but I’m going to make it up to you on our next date.”
I slammed the door in his face.
Chong called me over and over again for a week afterward in an attempt to continue to apologize, but I refused to take his calls. Finally, my mom told me she was tired of him calling and that if hearing him out would end the calls, then that’s what would have to be done, so I against my better judgment, I took his call.
“I just wanted to say that I’m sorry. I know it was a bad night. But…I…can…..”
His voice trailed off, then there was silence for almost two minutes. He hadn’t hung up because I could still hear talking in the background. When I asked if everything was okay, he said he’d gotten distracted by a movie that was on TV at the time. There was a topless scene, and the women were so naked and beautiful, he said.
I hung up, and told my mom if Chong ever called back, tell him I’d died.