Monday, February 29, 2016

An expensive passport

You can't even see it, right?
I knew going in that it would be expensive to renew our well-worn passports.
The price has gone up $20 on each since we got them almost 10 years ago.
I also knew it might be a lengthy process so we started early. We read all about it.
I was even prepared to wait in line though the crowd of people standing hopelessly in the Lehi Post Office lobby still dismayed me.
I gamely took up a position and tried to ignore the signs that said "You must have an appointment to obtain a passport." I settled in because I had the time. I was mentally ready for this exercise.
We filled out our applications online. We had our proper pictures from Costco.
I had called ahead and talked to an employee who said — once he understood we were renewing and not applying for the first time — that we could pop by anytime, no problem.
However, popping by didn't factor in the people ahead of me in the line and their protracted needs.
The lady at the passport line had two children with her and a very slow postal worker who was carefully walking her through the process. (Anybody seen the movie trailer with the sloth working the counter?)
At the other window, there was a guy waiting for an employee to come back from somewhere, who knew where.
Neither line was moving at all. Time ticked by.
I sighed.
The elderly gentleman in front of me suggested I plan on this taking a while.
Ahh, but there it still is....
He was friendly, chatty and gave me some tips. He looked at the credit card in my hand and said, "Oh, dear, you're going to need a money order!"
I didn't believe him. This is America, land of the credit card, right?
I stood my ground and waited. When I eventually got to the counter, the worker was still slow but, yes, she told me I needed a personal check with each application or a money order.
I took the envelope, the address label, my passports, my pictures and headed for my car, determined to finish this task today.
The old guy I'd made friends with was right behind me, walking between the cars so I waited to back up. I didn't want to run him over.
I was watching him in the little rear-view camera and backing out when I heard a grinding sound. I stopped and put the car in drive and tried to move forward. More grinding.
Bad news.
I had turned into the car parked alongside mine. My pretty little Leaf is now scraped and dented. There was sky blue paint on the other car's white side panel and wheel well.
I knew it wasn't good.
The cost of our new passports just went up hundreds of dollars.
The only comforting news is that the insurance adjuster I saw had just backed into his son's car in the driveway.
Somehow that helps.

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