I made a little trip to the post office today to update my passport and return to my maiden name, which even though I’m remarried is still my maiden name: Eby. Stupid name change. Why do they make it so complicated?
You can’t just drop in at the post office anymore for your passport. You have to schedule an appointment. Last week I called three times and was trapped in a phone-circle-of-hell for a good half hour. I needed a drink after that. Finally, I found the right number to call, left a message, and (miracle of miracles!) they called me back.
I got there early and was the first one in line. At 8:02, a postal worker schlepped to unlock the door. It was Monday morning, and he already looked fatigued. I got in line and said I needed a passport. One of the workers said “Sheesh. Already? Okay…” Stepped up to the counter, and told the woman that I needed pictures. She shrugged, and then took me over to this area to take pictures. Here’s our conversation:
ME: So are you glad that people have to make appointments now? Does it make it easier?
(She unlocked one of two gates and lets me in to the Picture Taking Area)
HER: No. We lost a ton of income. People say they can’t get ahold of us and we can’t tell them they’re lying. They’re probably not. They probably can’t.
ME: Yeah. It took me a while to figure out. I called three times. And I speak English. Think of the people who don’t.
HER: It’s ridiculous. Okay. Now smile.
ME: I can smile? I thought I couldn’t smile. I thought that was like illegal.
HER: No. That’s old school. You can smile. Are you smiling? Is that your smile? (I smiled at her and tried not to blink. I grunted an affirmative that yes, this is my smile. She clicked the picture.)
HER: You look crooked.
ME: What do you mean I look crooked?
(She held the digital camera out to me and I did look crooked. One shoulder was up and the other was significantly lower.)
ME: Huh. Maybe I have one leg that’s shorter than the other.
(She looked me up and down.)
HER: No. Your legs look all right. You just look WEIRD.
ME: Ah. Okay. Thanks.
(Then she handed me a bunch of paper I had to re-fill out because I used blue ink instead of black and I scribbled out my mom as an emergency contact and wrote my brother in instead. No offense to my mom, but if something happened, my bro would be better at handling it. Apparently, there is no scribbling allowed on applications.)
I then took twenty minutes trying to figure out all the things I was supposed to do and what forms to attach and how much money and who to address the fucking thing to. Then she called me back to the counter.
SHE: Well, you still look weird but my coworker says it’s okay because they’ll chop your picture off at your neck so they won’t see your crooked shoulders.
I was thinking, well, leave it to the post office to crop out people’s deformities. Thank you, Uncle Sam.
SHE: You didn’t sign this or date it.
I did as I was told.
I left the Post Office feeling overjoyed that my delayed honeymoon with Kealoha to Paris is one step closer…and I’m also wondering if I need an orthopedic lift in my shoe.