The cost of a mug shot...
I can’t believe how much it cost to get a passport. Geez. I guess the good news is that it doesn’t expire for a long time. But within that time, you might want to use it and get your monies worth.
So, we went to go apply for passports today. I’d been reminding Papa Bear that we needed to do this ever since we first planned our trip. I finally just let it go. If he wants to pay extra to rush them, then so be it.
I stopped nagging.
Finally last week out of the blue he said he made an appointment for us to apply. He had printed off about 15 pages of paperwork that he expected me to fill out. I said to myself, surely this can be completed online. Since the invention of “typing”, my handwriting is terrible.
My hand is totally lazy.
So I completed the paperwork neatly online and asked him what else we needed. He said “birth certificates”. I gathered our applications, birth certificates and added our social security cards just in case.
So were sitting in the office today and the passport lady is looking at all of our paperwork. They will charge us for making copies of our driver’s licenses since we didn’t bring copies. She looks at my birth certificate for a long time. It doesn’t have my parents name on it so she can’t accept it. No, I don’t know where another copy is, that’s the only one I’ve ever had.
I had an expired passport and asked her if it could be used in place of me having to obtain another copy of my birth certificate. Yes, it could! Whew! The only reason I had saved my old passport was because it was the prettiest ID picture I had ever taken. I wanted proof that a pretty ID picture actually exists.
I would have time to go get it while she processed the paperwork for Papa Bear and Christopher.
As I was on my way to the truck, Papa Bear called me back in. He said, “You need to go get a money order. They don’t take cash.” So I go back in and she adds up how much the portion for the US Department of State is going to be. Then she adds up the amount for processing, taking pictures and making copies. I said, “I can take the licenses home and make copies while I’m there.” That would save us about a dollar. I asked if a cashier’s check was acceptable. Yes it was. Good because if I had to go to Walmart to get a cashier’s check, I wouldn’t be back before the passport office closed.
I went out to the truck and quickly surveyed my surroundings. I wasn’t paying attention to how we got here because I was helping Christopher with his math homework. I’m not good with directions - fractions either. I know Papa Bear had come through the downtown area, which had one-way streets. So I went the opposite way.
I gave myself 35 minutes for the round-trip. It was 3:25 when I left. I wanted to be back at 4:00 because they closed at 4:30.
I got on the bypass and went to the bank first. I imagined Papa Bear being the one sent on the errand, and knew that I’d be sitting there embarrassed at 4:30 because he wasn’t back yet and people were ready to go home. For starters he would have gone to Walmart. Then he would have got caught up in the funeral procession I saw.
He would have had to call me to ask where the passport was even though I had already told him. He would have had to bring the driver’s licenses back without copies because he wouldn’t have called me back again to ask for the password to my computer and then inquire about how to use the scanner.
In 35 minutes, when my phone rang, I was two red lights away. He said, “Are you almost done?” I said, “Yep!” He said, “Where are you, at the house?” I said, “No, I’ll be there in one minute.” His surprise was evident. I was smug – like “I got this man.”
Inside, the passport lady was almost done with the other two applications. As she took my expired passport and stapled it to the application, she said, “You probably won’t get this back.” I said, “Oh no. That’s the best ID picture I’ve ever taken.” She said, “It is beautiful.” Then she added, “You can’t smile this time.” I said, “No?” She said, “No.”
Once upon a time ago, a stranger man was giving me the I’m hitting on you look. I gave him the mean, “Don’t bother me” look. Then the unexpected happened. He said something that made me genuinely smile. Then he said, “You are so pretty when you smile, it lights up your face.” That was a really nice compliment and I felt bad for giving him the evil eye. He was just being nice, he didn’t want my phone number.
Now I always remember to smile because it lights up my face.
To the passport lady I said, “Wow. I hate I can’t smile.” I could feel my husband smirking at me like why does it matter. Then I said, “Can I take a picture of my old passport?” She understood me wanting a pretty ID memento. I really felt Papa Bear rolling his eyes but I didn’t look at him.
In the next room I prepared to take my new photo. I was wearing an Old Navy sweatshirt with big letters on it. She asked if I had on another shirt to avoid getting the lettering. I did have on another shirt. I removed the sweatshirt, hearing the pops of static electricity and saying, "Great, my hair", to reveal another wordy Old Navy shirt.
She did the best she could.
The first one she zoomed in too close and yeah - too much cleavage. She said she would retake it. I said, "Yeah, the cleavage." She said, "Yeah I wasn't going to say that though."
The second picture was still cleavagy. I could have adjusted that, but by this time Papa Bear came in. Perhaps to offer his photography skills? No, probably just to see if I was the hold up. So I didn't adjust or lick down my static. I smirked.
She took one more picture from the neck up and I totally ended up with a mug shot, like a where's the placard mugshot.
Just so you know, I'll never share that photo. A quick glance at google images and someone might think I had been arrested.
So anyway here’s the thing… it cost $300 for the three of us to get passports, with an additional $99 for mugshots and processing. Thank goodness I made my own copies, huh?