Friday, July 8, 2011

There are no passports in ten minutes.

Again, from Hyperbole and a Half, whose post on adulthood pops into my mind all too regularly.

 Continuing on my logistical failure when paperwork is involved ...

This fall, due to some combination of peer pressure and family obligation, I'm going on a trip to Israel with basically everyone I know.*

I've turned my apartment upside-down looking for my passport. There's no telling where it could be. It could have gotten lost during one of the seven times I've moved since I last used it four years ago. I have to give in and get a new passport. 

The local passport office is in the post office; rather, it is the post office. The clerks that weigh packages and sell stamps are the same clerks that process passport requests. The post office is open until 7pm, but the clerks will only handle the passports until 3pm, though the sign says 3:30pm. There's also the odd day when they close at noon or refuse to handle passports at all, and these usually seem to coincide with the times that I am off work and able to go to the post office.

I made it in before that 3pm deadline a few days ago and ran into what should have been a small speed bump.

Clerk: I need your actual birth certificate, not a copy.

Me: Oh! That's easy. I can run home and be back with it in ten minutes.

Clerk: I can't do it in ten minutes.

Me: But you'll be at this same counter for four more hours.

Clerk: Yes.

Me: But you won't help me if I come back in ten minutes.

Clerk: No. There are no passports in ten minutes. 

I returned the next day to try again. The first clerk was struggling with her English, and some complications with my paperwork (mostly due to my confusing driver's license issues) made it impossible for us to communicate. She transferred me to another clerk, who was able to be more helpful, especially after I got frustrated enough to cry. 
This clerk recognized me from the several times I'd been in before to try and get this goofy passport. She made some phone calls and found some loopholes, and now my passport is being expedited. Although I can't cry on cue, I absolutely believe it would have gone even less smoothly if I hadn't let myself cry. 

Still, I'm terrified that this Very Expensive envelope that contains my original birth certificate is headed to an office like the Department of Records from Brazil

*The trip has the potential to be awesome, actually. I just wish it were next fall, after Blade and I have had some time to get used to being married.


Molly said...

That's it! I have to see Brazil. I've never even heard of it! You're just broadening my horizons today!

Alyssa K said...

Glad to be of service!

Brazil is ... well, it requires patience. It became a joke for awhile in college that we would watch ten minutes of it every week for a whole semester, but it was usually just the first ten minutes over and over again. I know the first ten minutes very well, and the rest of the movie is sort of a blur.