Fate Mail.

28 Feb

Today was an interesting day.

I had to renew my passport in time before my Cabo San Lucas trip. The twist: I am Canadian. Therefore, my renewal is not as easy as A-B-C. I needed to get some very specific forms, take a very specific and specialized photo that is different from the American passport photo, and then mail it all the way to Quebec and wait for it to return. My parents had renewed theirs last month, and said it took 15 days for it to return.

I have to be in Chicago from the 29th-30th, and leave on the 31st for Mexico.

Today is the 13th. Fifteen days from now is the 28th.

If that’s not cutting it close, then I don’t know what is.

So I call ahead to the post office to inquire if they took Canadian passport photos. “Rick” from the US Postal Service confirmed that they did. I drive across town and wait in line for 20 minutes behind a long line of lifeless citizens waiting to send parcels and documents, through an extremely bitchy black woman working at the counter. It’s finally my turn. I approach the counter, renewal forms in hand.

“Yes, I need to renew my passport, but it’s a Canadian passport.”

The lady looks at me with a raised eyebrow and more attitude than Foxy Cleopatra in Goldmember. “We don’ DO reNEWals here, ma’am,” she blurted out.

I pointed to the sign on the wall to the right that read passport renewals. “Um….I think you do.” I responded.

The woman stared at me for an uncomfortable amount of time and then said, in a very aggravated tone, “I’ma hafta get DEBBIE fo ‘dis den.” She stormed off into the back. An artificially pleasant woman scurried through the door with a scary wide smile. This woman seriously looked like a wind-up doll on crack cocaine. “CAN I HELP YOU!?” she asked in an excited manner. I explained to her my predicament.

“Oh, we don’t do Canadian passports here!!!!!!!!!!!!” she exclaimed like a cheerleader.

“But….I talked to ‘Rick’ from this post office on the phone literally 20 minutes ago, and he said that you did,” I retorted. She argued otherwise, and told me to go to FedEx, and that they would be able to help me there. I leave and head down the street toward FedEx.

Now I’m worried that I won’t even be able to get it there on time at all, so I call the 1-800 number to see what I have to do to get it expedited. The French woman on the other line informed me that it was impossible to get a Canadian passport expedited unless I live in a major city and can visit a place like Miami or Minneapolis in person to get a temporary passport. Clearly that was not an option.

Attempt Number 2:

I enter FedEx and stand in a makeshift “line” that was more of a social gathering in front of the service counter. In front of me are two eccentric old women, one dressed entirely in pink fleece with sunglasses to match. She commented on how much she loved my bright pink coat. I told her I was not surprised that she liked it. I’m not sure if she got my joke. They go ahead of me and get their mailing issues taken care of. Next in line was a middle-aged gentleman holding a couple of small packages. When the employee asked who was next, the man politely told me that I could go ahead since I had only one thing to take care of. I stepped up to the counter.

“I need to get my Canadian passport renewed, and I was told you guys take the photos for Canada here.”

The guy sucked in a bunch of air, and then regretfully informed me that they only took the American photos. Again, I am stuck. At this point I am actually beginning to panic. It is now 3 o’clock. If I have any chance of mailing this off today, I have to get this photo taken and shipped in overnight mail. Things are not looking good.

The middle-aged gentleman who kindly let me go in front of him in the line butted in—“Excuse me, but I just overheard your predicament–I’m a photographer.” He handed me his card. James Ferris, Photography. I look up at this man, who now appeared to be wearing wings and a halo. “Do you think you can take my picture for me with all the right dimensions and specifications in time for me to mail it tonight??” I asked helplessly.

“Well….” he started, and looked at his watch. “I’m supposed to be going to the barber right after this, but, I mean I can for-go the haircut, drive back to Shawnee, and then meet you over at my studio in the West Bottoms and take care of it for you,” he generously offered.

“Wow,” I began, shocked that a complete stranger would offer to do something this selfless and inconvenient for a person he did not even know the name of. “–I mean–you seriously don’t have to cancel getting a hair cut for me,” I said.

“No, really. I know what it’s like to be in a rush to travel,” he replied. “It’s not a big deal.”

We exchanged numbers really quickly and agreed to meet in about an hour. In case you aren’t familiar with the Shawnee-Mission area, this man literally had to drive 25 minutes back west to Shawnee to retrieve and load up all of his photo equipment, drive back east another 40 minutes to his studio, set everything up, take my photo, and then doctor it up to make sure we complied with the exact specifications that Canada so anally insists on having.

Clearly this man wanted to rape and kill me.

Kidding. He did everything for me, just in time for me to make it back to FedEx and speed ship the documents overnight to Quebec, Canada.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Things certainly do fall into place for a reason!

“Your hair looks awesome.”
“No it doesn’t.”


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