A Good Home

Cynthia Reyes — the Crazy One

My husband drives me to the Toronto airport for my interview. Pass it, and I’ll be granted a NEXUS card, which speeds up passage through the Canada-US border.

Never mind the fact that I haven’t travelled anywhere in many years. I have hopes; many beloved family members live in the US. 

The two officers — one Canadian, one American — want to make sure I’m really the Cynthia Reyes I claim to be.

I start to giggle.  Then stop, feeling alarmed.

Cynthia Reyes is a disreputable name.


I’m remembering the time I discovered my namesakes on the internet. 

There was the woman who had a flat tire and asked a passing cop for help, forgetting she had a huge bag of marijuana in the car trunk. 

“Even you wouldn’t be that crazy”, my family said.  Leaving me wondering: do you mean that I wouldn’t flag down the cop, or that I wouldn’t have a bag of marijuana with me?

But I digress.

​Here’s another:  “Cynthia Reyes, 41, of New York was arrested and charged with third and sixth degree larceny on Jan. 27.  Reyes’s bond was set at $5,000 and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 9.”

Oh dear. 


I now understand how people feel when they have to prove they’re not drunk. Or insane. 

“Well,” I tell the NEXUS officers, “there IS a Cynthia Reyes who is an author too, you know; she lives in the US.  And another one is a paediatrician.” 

I puff my chest out, warmed by the halo effect of being able to cite reputable namesakes.

The whole interview somehow goes downhill from there. They have moved on with their questions, but I am still stuck with wanting to defend the name Cynthia Reyes. So I mis-answer their queries, supplying replies they didn’t seek or ones they requested two questions ago.

The woman officer regards me in disbelief, the man in bewildered amusement. As in: “Yes, we have a live one here, Mildred.”

My poor husband, watching from a short distance, doesn’t know if he should step in and help or let me try to swim to the surface on my own.


As I valiantly continue to screw up the interview, the officers still staring, I start to laugh.

They start to laugh. We are all laughing now.

I wipe my eyes.

It’s fingerprint-time. I must stand a distance from the counter, positioning both sets of fingers on their hightech thingamijiggy. But without my cane, I start to fall over.  The quick-thinking officer stops me, does something with the equipment, and I prop myself up against the counter. It works.


Despite my obvious insanity, the officer now seems to be telling me I’ll be granted a NEXUS card.  


He reads a list of things I must do when I travel.

“Slow down, slow down,” I say, still not believing. “I must make notes.” 

If he’s rolling his eyes, he hides it well.


“She is special,” my family would have told the officers. It’s how they explain my strange answers to often simple questions — the way the words come out, or simply the way I see the world.

Point is: You never want to interview me. About anything. 


42 thoughts on “Cynthia Reyes — the Crazy One”

  1. Oh my Cynthia! That sounds like me. I once got a ticket for turning from the long lane. My husband insisted the distance from the parking lot to the corner that I had pulled out of didn’t leave me enough space to get into the turn lane, and convinced me to fight the ticket. I didn’t want to as I get so nervous over these things. Got so confused, I answered all the judges questions wrong. “How do you plead he asked?” “Guilty!” I replied…to which he responded that I should have just paid the ticket and (essentially) not wasted his time. So I said, “I mean not guilty!” At this point, he looked confused and asked, “Ma’am what do you want to do?” I responded, “I just want to go home!!” He then put his gavel down, shaking his head and chuckling. “Go out and pay your ticket and you can go home!” I’m sure I made his day, but I was a wreck the rest of the day. And hubby kept asking, “What were you doing??” Never again!! lol

    1. Having had misadventures on both sides of the US – Canada border I can completely relate. Here’s the thing: in the job application interview on both sides, if any even slightly detectable sense of humor exists, the person does not get the job.

      1. Thanks, Michael. I hear you. Don’t know how these two officers squeaked through then because they had a sense of humour, surprisingly!

      2. Haha. Hope not. They were very thorough. But what does one do when confronted by such a major idiot as moi? They could have cried but I am glad they laughed.

      3. My mother-in-law got stuck trying to leave Honduras after her passport had been stolen. No go. She finally sat down on the floor and cried her eyes out. They put her on the next plane. Many years ago I entered Canada with about $25,000 worth of electronic equipment that I was going to use for training customers. I did not have the proper permits. I had to prove that they were not for sale. The customs people in Canada were humorless and unconvinced. I finally had to prove to them that I was a complete idiot, which was actually very easy given the circumstances. They finally agreed that I was a complete idiot and let me bring the stuff in. Moral of the story: if one proves to be an idiot, play it to the hilt.

  2. Soooooo funny and yet I completely understand. Just try to imagine someone interviewing my Bert. I am grinning from ear to ear. I would be so sympathetic…to the interviewers not the interviewee.

  3. Some years ago, we were packing up to travel home from Ireland, via the Shannon Airport. We had rented a flat with a kitchen and had some food left over. We boiled up the eggs, and chopped vegetables, with plans to eat them as snacks. Security pulled me over, as I was carrying the lunch bag. In the inquiry room, as I ate the eggs rather than toss them in the rubbish bin, the security officer questioned whether I was actually a country singer whom I look very much like (Randy Travis). I believe that I was allowed to carry the four-pack of Murphy’s stout on the plane myself. Irish priorities. – Oscar

  4. This was wonderful reading Cynthia! I was laughing, but knowing how brave you were to go through with this. Last time I left the US I got security checked and after obediently emptying the tissues out of my pocket before the special X-Ray, I was shown to have lied as there was yet another tissue in my pocket. The ominous way the officer checked my palms for explosives then made me unravel the tissues, that I had been passing from palm to palm very slowly in front of her, made me giggle. She was very unamused. I still haven’t fathomed what dangerous object she expected to find wrapped in tissue in the pockets of a little old lady.

    1. Great anecdote. When they are not amused by my foibles, I worry! These two officers were great. I guess they concluded anybody that genuinely idiotic is probably honest enough.

  5. You got the NEXUS card in spite of yourself! All this makes me glad, for once, for the unusual name spelling my mother chose to give me (Kerran)–I don’t believe there’s another one of me!

  6. This was funny but I know it must have been so difficult too. Once I make a mistake and then try to correct myself, things only seem to get worse not better!

  7. I want to call this the Nemesis rather than the Nexus interview. CR, the Nemesis of Nexus. But joking aside, I am very glad to know you have hopes of travelling. 🙂

  8. What a laugh Cynthia – though I’m sure for a while there it didn’t feel like it! There’s always that sense of unexplained guilt that creeps in when we have to answer questions from ‘officials’ 🙂

  9. I love our Nexus cards. We zip up to Ikea to look at all the cool things we really don’t need, eat at Niagara On the Lake or find a cold hockey rink for a tournament and let us not forget the closes Swiss Chalet the Man likes….so convenient…maybe too convenient 🙂

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