So I finally went down to the passport office and handed in my application. This has been a much longer process than it should have been, mainly because I put bureaucratic things like this at the bottom of my priority list, behind doing favors for others, scrubbing the bathtub, tweezing nose hairs, etc. Dealing with large organizations like banks and the government is pretty much my least favorite thing in the world. I say “pretty much” because there are probably a one or two things out there that I haven’t yet discovered that are worse. I think it all boils down to the fact that when push comes to shove, there’s no way you can win an argument with a big organization. If they have what you want (passport, tax return, your bank account, etc.) you are going to have to jump through whatever hoops of fire they hold in front of you to get it.

Another thing that held me back from applying for the passport is that I have this huge fear of leaving here for an extended period of time. It’s been years since I’ve gone on a significant vacation. Last time, I went to Mexico for a week, and it hurt me a lot, because it screwed up all my lead times for appointments, sales, deliveries, etc. for a month. I estimate that the one-week, $1200, all-inclusive vacation actually cost me about $10,000 in business. Ouch. This time I’m planning on a much longer trip, but I think my business has evolved to a point that I can leave for a month. I’m crossing my fingers anyway.

Anyway, today seemed to be the day to do what needed to be done, since I had my major appointment of the day cancel on me, freeing up a block of time that I’d otherwise spend sitting around uselessly. Yesterday was much the same. I started out with two appointments and both of them buggered out on me. I think this is the week of cancellations. Back to my story.

I went downtown and parked my car. Then I proceeded to search for the passport office. After asking directions from a cleaning lady, I found it. It turns out that the sign pointing to the passport office is on the wall, directly beside the passport office, which you can only see after taking the elevator up to the third floor. How helpful. It didn’t seem to be a problem though, as there were about 100 people in the small office waiting in front of me in line for their turn to hand in their applications. I wonder how many thousands of others are wandering around downtown looking for it, but didn’t bother to ask the cleaning lady?

I predicted a long wait, so I brought a book to read. After 20 minutes it was my turn. I was glad to get up because the woman sitting next to me kept trying to talk to me even though I was clearly trying to ignore her. As soon as I pulled out all my papers, the girl said, “Those photos aren’t going to work.” Apparently they don’t want the photos if there’s too much shine on the forehead. Ahhhh! I have an oily T-zone, and I discovered it in the passport office! I’m gonna have to go buy some Neutrogena stuff or something to fix it. I’ll have to read the Cosmo magazines that Jen left here for recommendations. It may be difficult to find among all the articles about giving proper blowjobs. She gave me some special paper that meant that I could skip the line when I came back with proper photos. I also got another form to take to the passport photo place to explain how they fucked up. She also explained that I didn’t need to have a guarantor’s signature on the back of my new photos. Yay.

I walked to the photo place and got the photos redone. The boss there gave the photo-taking guy a hard time about his photo-taking skills. He circled my greasy T-zone in red ink and tapped it with his pen to make the point. I felt a little embarassed. He made the guy photocopy the form so he could learn how to take proper passport photos. I think I might have been their first passport photo customer. 😐 With new photos in hand, I returned to the passport office. This time, I had my special line-skipping form, and I was served in about one minute. It was very fast and efficient. They took my $85 and told me my passport would be arriving in about two weeks. Whee! Next stop: somewhere other than Canada…