Is This You? Putting on a passport performance
Recently I had to renew my passport. Well, I didn’t have to, but you never know when you’ll be on the US/Canada border and want to step over the line and pick a flower and will need a passport to do so. Since my passport had expired more than a few years ago, I decided I’d get a new one, just in case.
If you’ve never gotten a passport, you should do it just to have the experience under your belt. It’s quite an adventure. First, you need to find out where to go to get the job done. Some places it’s a post office and some places it might be a DMV office. In Eureka, you go to see the great people in the County Recorder’s office. Very pleasant and helpful. But before you get to that last step of having the clerk send off your application, well, there are some things you might want to “know before you go” — as it has been said.
The application itself is pretty straight forward. Name, address, birthdate and place. Your gender — uh, let’s not go there in today’s gender unspecific atmosphere. Then it goes on to ask about your parents. Full names, (mother’s maiden name, too) their birth dates and where they were born. Parents, teach your kids about you and maybe what a maiden name is! I do know where both my parents were born but I know kids who don’t. I don’t know how in the world they would ever get a passport if they didn’t know where the stork dropped mom and pop off. Just saying …
Now comes the hunt and gather section. You have to prove to some unknown, unseen personnel within the governmental maze who doesn’t know you from Adam, who you are and you are really who you say you are. This will take some digging if you have lived in a cave for the past umpteen years of your life. Easy peasy is your driver’s license. Front and back. I noticed the back of my license is full of information. I just can’t read it because it’s in some sort of code. I wonder if it happens to tell the code reader I dance in my kitchen to ’60s music. Ya never know where Big Brother is!
Next, your birth certificate. Not a copy, the real thing. You don’t have to send in the real thing, but you have to have the real thing to get a copy, front and back. See, on the back there’s the stamp of approval that you were delivered — not by the stork — and your delivery was live and what title was bestowed upon you at that time. I found the nurse who wrote my name on my birth certificate put an extra “e” on the end of my middle name. An “e” I have never used. I hope that doesn’t become a big thing! I might not be who I think I am. She had wonderful handwriting, however. I bet she’s dead by now and doesn’t have to answer for that extra “e.” Moving on.
Next, if you have one, a marriage certificate. Why? Because you listed your birth name on the application and now your name is changed and you have to prove it was all legal and above board. This document also needs to be the original because on the back of it you will find another stamp of approval from an entity you will never see. This official document was easy to provide as I’ve always kept that little piece of paper close at hand in case I needed to remind my other half that everything he had was also mine! Of course that also meant everything I had, uh, was also mine! Yeah, marriage — it’s a give, take, give thing. But let’s not dwell.
Now here comes the kicker. You need a passport picture. Oh, how I dread getting my picture taken. Your passport picture apparently has to be as lifelike as possible. Like your DMV photo. You’re not allowed to pose or smile. You are to just stand there and get your likeness taken. I’m not exaggerating here when I say when I saw the picture the woman took of me, well, I wouldn’t let that person in my country! Yuck. But it is what it is, huh?
Everything gathered, I paid the fee, had to swear all the information was true, I didn’t say anything about that extra “e,” and off my packet went. Now I just have to wait to see if I get my little blue passport book or a loud knock on the door in the middle of the night. Knock, knock — who’s there?
Oh! You looked at the back of your driver’s license, didn’t you?
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really!