It's time for a new passport
Problem - when the decision was made, my husband and I didn't have a passport. In this day and age of global interactive initiatives between cultures, who does not have a passport? Even Elmo has a passport, or at least his picture is on a passport cover.
It's finally time to expand our horizons and travel beyond our borders. The last time we left the country Ross Perot was running for president and we went to Nova Scotia and did the whole Cape Breton loop. We were allowed out and back in on the legitimacy of our driver's licenses. Now we need a universal form of identification which supersedes the legal viability of all current IDs, including our Connecticut driver's licenses, credit cards and every supermarket, pharmacy and other store rewards card hanging from my key chain.
Obtaining the paperwork was easy, it's online and in a little cardboard stand-up in the post office. We can do this, I thought, until we realized we needed to find our birth certificates. No problem, I knew right where they were.
Observation - you know you're getting old when your original birth certificate is so out-of-date you may not use it as an actual certificate of birth and must obtain a new one. The new ones are called the "long form" birth certificates and $20 and remembering which towns we were born in, got us new ones.
So, I filled out the information needed to apply for my passport. I was instructed to use a black pen and only to fill in the designated areas, using my best penmanship. My husband used a black pen but because his idea of written communication looks like the beach at low tide after a flock of emaciated seagulls have been fighting over the same clam, it was barely legible. Then we were off to AAA for our passport photos.
I had combed my hair, applied foundation and even eye makeup. I always do that for a driver's license, I mean really, I'll be stuck with that photo for so long why not primp to get my passport glamour-shot right. Even with a morning's worth of preparation I still looked like my mother subsequent to an afternoon of gardening in the middle of July.
I had an old passport. Barely out of my teens, I got to spend a year in South Africa. I handed the old passport in with my application and photo for a new one. The post office employee gathering our paperwork humorously declared my old passport ancient. He loudly exclaimed to a lobby full of customers who were impatiently waiting behind us, as we declared ourselves non-subversive, that he hadn't seen that color passport cover in a reeee-ally looo-ong time. I got it a year before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Maybe I should have slipped it in a nice little Elmo cover.
Once we handed in everything to prove we were, who we said we were, we had to raise our right hands and swear to an oath. Mr. Post Office-funny man recited so fast, that all I could do was nod and say I do or I will. I felt like I was checking one of those little (nobody reads the fine print) "I agree" boxes on the computer. All I know is that I love my country and I certainly won't do anything to subvert her.
Aver detto abbastanz, that's "enough said" in Italian, I think.
CAROLYNN PIANTA IS EXPANDING HER ITALIAN BEYOND WORDS SUCH AS LINGUINI AND RIGATONI. EMAIL HER AT CP.ENOUGHSAID@AOL.COM.