Thursday, September 17, 2009

Passport Caboodle

The other day while in the passport office, a congenially aloof welcome wicket clerk asked what I do, to which I handily replied, "I am a homemaker."...(you know, I do laundry, beds, pick-up after grown men, remind them to do things, fix them food - stuff like that.)
"For longer than two years?"
"Yes."
"We might have to verify it."
"And how would you do that?" I asked.
She gave a smug smile, handed back the green school folder I scarfed earlier that morning from Buff's backpack and silently turned through my papers again.
It was then I remembered and blurted out, "I have a blog. I write about what I do. Would that work?"
"We wouldn't need to know about every day," she smirked pointing to the waiting area. I noted the huge sign declaring the room under surveillance cameras, and thought about the delicious cookbook in the bottom of my tote. But before I could seat myself, remove the book and flash its cover, a buzzer sounded and a disembodied VOICE instructed, "Number 23, Wicket 5." It seemed all a bit Huxleyish and I suddenly just wanted to turn around and leave.Wicket 5's much younger clerk methodically spread out my papers before her. She was quiet and then asked, "What happened to your birth certificate?"
"I sat on it - when I was 18. I went to a concert across the river and didn't want to take my purse, so I stuck it in my back pocket and sat on it." I left out the part about Alice Cooper. At that moment my cell began audibly vibrating in my pocket.
"The crease is going through the numbers, you should get a new one."
I leaned across straining to look at the slightly oblique crease. Every time I see it I think of the nice French Canadian boy who took me to see Alice Cooper. The cell stopped vibrating. The crease runs through a space between numbers leaving them undisturbed and looking no different than the day it happened back in 1970 something. I nodded in agreement.

"The new ones are paper. They don't have this coating," she flatly said adding, "What do you do?"
The phone began vibrating again. I shifted the tote onto the narrow wicket ledge to mute the cell when the weight of the cookbook tipped the tote over. Out rolled my plum. "365 Ways to Cook Chicken" along with the green folder slid onto #5's work station.
"I'm a homemaker," I apologized reaching for my bag and chicken book - she automatically stopped the rolling fruit with her upturned hand...(and this is my thrifty homemade tote which I just dumped onto your desk, designed and sewn by me, Decadent Housewife, using vintage materials and interlined with a recycled flannel bed sheet. And good grief, who's pants are so on fire that they have to keep calling me here?)
The cell stopped. "How do you know this person?" I leaned across to see to whom she was referring. The cell started again.
"Church. We met in church."
"Friend? Are they a friend?"
"Friend."
"How long have they known you?"
"25 years." I'd missed filling in that part too.
"And this person?"
"Friend. She's known me since I was born."

While, Clerk #5 continued quietly examining the papers, I decided to use the lull to answer my cell.
"Yes?...Do I see a green folder?...Yes, it's here...I'm not there...I'm in The City...What do you need?...When do you need it?...Your lunch was in the fridge...I have to pick up your father...Sigh...I love you too." Upon which I noticed the clerk staring at me and once more I intensely wanted to leave.
"When do you plan on leaving?" she asked.
"Pardon, me?" I stared at her.
"When do you plan on leaving the country?"
"Soon, or maybe not so soon."...(sooner than you think, #5.)
Finally I got to leave, after handing over payment and listening to stern last instructions. I caught a glimpse of the VOICE, escaped down the elevator, ran to the river, wedged the still valid parking pass into the coin slot of the parking lot ticket dispenser, drove like a madwoman to pick up GG, shopped for vegetables and drove home to rescue Buff.
(Photos by GG at The Farm - turf I'm much more comfortable with. Wildflowers, skirt the southeast perimeter of the bush, I'm not sure what kind though - maybe a Rudbeckia? Perhaps someone could tell us. They are easily six foot tall.)

9 comments:

Sue said...

This made me laugh out loud! Ahhh, red tape.

"We might have to verify that." Too much!

That made me appreciate the super friendly folks at the American Embassy in Tokyo, and the Japanese passport office (even to a clueless foreigner renewing passports for her kids)!

Jeanne said...

Love you

Leila said...

I do not! like paperwork of any kind.
I have to do passport stuff too. Sigh.

All I can say is, maybe homemakers will save the world from totalitarianism, which seems to thrive on people eager and willing to do paperwork.

Patricia said...

Verify that you are a homemaker!!! How clever of you to think of your blog. Only problem is - if they look at your blog they will think you are a professional - an author or publisher of a magazine. =)

Mental P Mama said...

All just to get a passport? Wow. I would prefer to be at the farm, too.

Glory von Hathor said...

I think we need to hear more about Alice Cooper...

Scriptor Senex said...

Loved the story - you couldn't make up something like that. Wonder what she thought a homemaker did! How, and, more weirdly, why would she need to verify it?

Caution Flag said...

Are you coming to visit me? Is that why you need a passport? Are you going to teach me how to garden and cook while you're here? The possibilities!!!

Lakeland Jo said...

I hate official in every form....