many have touched my surfaces, peering closely to inspect every square inch, leaving dirty finger prints all over me; branding a new stamp each time. every hand i have passed through has left a permanent mark; until the next one. then i am put aside until there is a need again. 10 years on, and finally it is time to retire.
my current passport has expired. it pre-dates my arrival in the united states, now it is filled with student visas, work visas, and my "alien" visa. in addition to a pictorial history of my hair fluctuating 2-3 inches in length.
the task of re-newing a passport is not unlike re-experiencing childbirth (easy for my unexpanded uterus to analogize); you forget what a bloody pain in the arse (or other areas) it is, since the last time you did it. i can understand why people never leave their home countries (or demand epidurals).
i downloaded the application, anticipating a quick 10 minutes of printing out demographic information (in black ink), getting a couple of pictures together, and sending the lot off to the the british embassy with the expired version and a "filing fee".
~ the instructions make the assumption that i am "her majesty's loyal subject".
~ each demographic requirement has several further addendums.
time: form filling; 25 minutes. photo taking; 10 minutes. photo prep time; 90 minutes (with lengthy intervention from clairol and clinique). photo countersignature; several weeks of chasing down: "a subject of her commonwealth, limited to: a member of parliament, justice of the peace, minister of religion, established civil servant, or professionally qualified person such as a doctor/lawyer/school teacher/police officer/engineer." should i not be able to locate a brit meeting these criteria, then an american counterpart would suffice. as long as we have been acquainted for 2 years.
cost: $250, plus photo fee's, and certified mail delivery.
having the freedom to be able to move around the world, or just leave the country (any country); priceless.