Tuesday, January 1, 2008

becoming a virgin every 10 years

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.


mansuetude said...

love the analogy with making yourself a traveling virgin... ahhmm!

an irish friend of mine teaching in the states has a horror story of her green card, the lines, the hassles... can't imagine what will happen in the coming years with all the security concerns...we will be tagged with computer id's for passports...!

ALF said...

man! I got all my paperwork together, got the picture taken and everything to renew my passport and I left it on the counter instead of putting it in the mail. Oops!

Not Goth said...

its so bloody expensive isnt it? urgh. I lost my passport a while back and the expense of having it and my visa renewed was unbelievable. Now its locked away..

Jill said...

Not goth - yes sooooooooooooo expensive! Course mine was times three bec. I had to do my own and both kids. Plus I had let mine completely expire.