Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Canada is not in the US

Tuesday morning. 10am. We are leaving for a ski trip to Canada on Friday. I receive an email from Rob with the following message: "Don't forget our passports for Canada!"

Panic sets in. My passport expired on Nov 24. It did not occur to me that this would make it difficult to get into another country. I call Rob. "I'm screwed!" I yell, wondering what the people in my office are thinking.

"It will be ok," he says.

"How will it be ok?" Still yelling.

We get off the phone, me assigned to figuring out how to fix this. I make calls. Many, many calls. I speak to several people at the US passport office, dial into an automated appointment line at the New York City Passport Agency and discover that the next available appointment they have is 2 hours after we are scheduled to leave for Vancouver.

I panic some more. I call the Connecticut Passport Agency and make an appointment for Wednesday morning. In Connecticut.

I call Rob and am mean to him. "This is not going to work out," I say. "Even if I go to Connecticut tomorrow, there's no way they can get me a passport in time. They're closed on New Year's Day and we leave at 7am on Friday."

"Just go to the New York office," he says.

"I can't!" I am yelling again. "I just talked to 4 people who told me I need an appointment. And there are no appointments!"

"Stop yelling," Rob says. "Go to the office. You have to try."

My meltdown continues as I complain that I have work to do, that I could very well spend 4 hours waiting in line at the passport office when I should be at work PLUS if I don't succeed, I still need to go to Connecticut in the morning, thus missing another day of work.

"Well," Rob points out, "if you don't get a passport, you can be at work instead of going on vacation."

I make some more noises into the phone and hang up.

There are at least 3 more phone calls that repeat the above conversation, and I finally agree to go to the New York Passport Agency, which is in the West Village. I must first go home, get my passport, fill out forms, get photos of myself, and print out proof of travel.

Is it anticlimactic to report that when I got to the passport agency, it took less than 10 minutes to renew my passport?


"What is the lesson we learned today?" Rob asks.

Resisting the urge to punch him for talking to me like I'm a 4-year-old, I dutifully respond, "Always be prepared."

"What else?" he says.

"Um...don't panic?"

"That's a good one. What else?"

"Don't be mean to Rob?" I guess.

"That's a very good one."

"What's the one you were thinking of?" I ask, since clearly I have not answered the question correctly yet.

"Leave no stone unturned," he says wisely, at which point I do punch him. In my mind.

1 comment:

Colleen_Katana said...

Really? The NY Passport agency let you in without an appointment?? FUCK. When I lost my passport they REFUSED to let me in without an appointment. I discovered though, that you can handle most of your passport fiascos through the Stuy-town Post Office. They handle all that stuff as well and can be done so without an appointment. (though not positive whether or not this includes last minute renewals) For future reference.