June 15, 2017
I mentioned in a recent post how I have weird luck: Major things tend to go well, while the small things make me work for them.
Take today, for example.
I’ve been meaning to get a new passport for years, as my old one expired decades ago and was lost to the sands of time. I’m terrible about Actually Going Places to Do Things: Post Office? The worst. Get copies made? Ha. Get my photo taken? FUCK OFF.
Yesterday, however, I Successfully Adulted. I went and got the odious passport photo taken, and I actually look human in it, despite my face being all nekkers without my glasses. I celebrated by getting frozen yogurt and accidentally telling a punk asshole kid to shut the fuck up whilst doing so.
Reading over the requirements carefully, I printed out everything I needed (or so I thought.) I read the requirements several times to be sure.
Today, I started looking for my birth certificate, knowing I’d seen it as I’d been sorting through all the things in my office. It took literally less than two minutes to find.
It’s like I know how things tend to go for myself. It is exceptionally hot and humid here today (87 degrees with 48% humidity as I was heading out,) but when I was preparing to leave, there was not a cloud in the sky. What the hell, I’ll ride the bike – it’ll be easier to zip around on. I have these super comfortable, totally waterproof, highly-protective Sidi motorcycling boots that are probably the best motorcycling boots I’ve ever owned. They’re amazing, but also loud as fuck. They squeak. And when I say “squeak,” this is not a cute little mouse-sized squeak: This is “everyone in the whole building can hear three squeaks per step” levels of noise. There is no sneaking up on anyone in these bitches, I can tell you. They attract significant attention.
They are also hot. Like, temperature-wise, not so much sexy-wise.
I needed to get copies made, so I did a quick “OK Google: Make copies near me.” Google directed to me a spot a couple of miles away. I geared up, saddled up, and headed over. As I arrived and told the woman at the counter what I needed (two copies each of my birth certificate and driver’s license,) she chuckled a little and told me they were a commercial print shop with much larger minimum order requirements.
Fortunately, there was a Staples two blocks away. Boom, headshot. Sauntered back out into the waves of heat and moisture, got my hands into my sweaty gloves, and hopped over to the Staples. No line, woo! Did my stuff for less than a buck, and left. Started saddling up, somehow remembered I’d left my driver’s license in the copy machine before getting to the passport agency office – whew! Lucky me.
Back on the bike to find a parking spot downtown.
Now I say I have crap lucky on the little things, but I also realize I often make poor choices. No, no – hear me out: While this assuredly comes as a complete shock to anyone who’s ever spent more than 10 minutes with me, it’s actually true. The only parking spot I could find wasn’t exactly… legal. It was an end cap spot that was huuuuge, but already occupied by a car. There was easily another car’s length of space behind it, however, so in I went, mumbling a silent prayer to the parking gods to be merciful.
Lansing’s parking enforcement officers are, shall we say, “vigilant.” They cruise around like contented sharks, waiting for an opportune moment to strike. In the past, if I blinked too slowly before inserting a coin, a ticket appeared on my windshield, and the only trace of the officer was a fading puff of a breeze. I had seen one drive past just as I was getting ready to park, so I had a few minutes. Surely, I could get in and out before anyone noticed.
I walked the block and to the City Clerk’s office, announcing my squeaky presence to the entire State Capital grounds. The squeaks literally echoed off the buildings as I approached the door. Once inside, I was confronted with a security checkpoint, which I had not expected. I let everyone behind me go ahead, as I had 1000 things plus motorcycle gear to be inspected. The checkpoint ladies were very friendly and gave me little grief about the small whirlwind of chaos that whirled in with me.
Noticing me looking at the building directory, one asked where I was going, and directed me to the ninth floor. Yay, elevators! Squeak (echo squeak, echo squeak) and so on across the lobby.
I had worked up a bit of a sweat with the biking jacket, helmet, and gloves, and with the walking around in heavy boots. I could feel my face all shiny as I lumbered out of the elevator and let my boots announce my presence in the City Clerk’s office. A very kind woman came around and started to help me, offhandedly asking “you’ve got your cashier’s check or money order, right?” as she looked through my paperwork.
“A what? No, it says right here I can use credit cards…”
“Sorry, not here, you can’t. We have to staple the method of payment to the application, and I don’t suppose you want your card stapled?”
SON OF A BITCH.
I had been so thorough, and even over-prepared by bringing multiple copies of everything. Alright, ok. There was a bank a few blocks away. Off I went, nearly careening into a woman as she came off the elevator, who laughed good-naturedly. Super cute lesbian, too. Alas, no time for flirting (like I know how to do that with girls, anyhow, amirite.)
Squawked my way back to the bike (which was, mercifully, ticket-free,) rode a few blocks down to the bank, grabbed cash out of the ATM, and went inside to get my cashier’s check.
Aaaand that’s a big negative, there, Rubber Ducky: My account at this particular credit union was closed yearrrrrs ago, and they won’t do anything for non-members. Of course. She referred me to the liquor store at the corner. I checked Google again, and discovered my bank had opened a branch right downtown. Score!
Putting my gloves on was becoming increasingly difficult the sweatier I got: My fingers fought every millimeter of leather as I wrestled them into my gloves. My face was no longer “shiny;” it was dripping.
Rode five blocks to the bank, found a parking meter right out front with 16 minutes left – which was a good thing, because I had zero change on my person. The bank got me all squared away, and I had a decision to make: Walk the two blocks back to the City Clerk’s office and hope that the remaining 10 minutes would cover me (ha, not bloody likely,) or try to find a better, paid-for spot.
I opted for the latter, but found none. There was, thankfully, an open space right in front of the building, but it had no time on it. I scrounged through my tankbag for change – nope! As I was disembarking, the parking dude slowly cruised by me, eyes alert, dorsal fin upright.
If I hurried, maybe, juuuuust maybe, I’d be able to get back before he could complete his circuit!
Dashing (imagine how much louder these boots are whilst “dashing”) back into the lobby, much better prepared for the metal detector and wanding this time, I walked into the City Clerk’s office for the second time.
The City Clerk was there this time, and we chit-chatted about motorcycles, heat, and passports. One of his staff finally meandered back to her desk, and we began the incredibly slow process. There were more hitches: I only had one cashier’s check for the full amount, when I should have had two. This resulted in overpaying the US Government by $25. I gave zero fucks – they can have it. “Oh no, they’ll send it back to you – they just get a little cranky about it.”
Great – that shouldn’t delay things at all, right? Sure.
When all was said and done, I successfully applied for the damn thing. I hastily went back outside to see what parking fine awaited me, and not three steps out the door… it began to rain. WHAT?! Sure. Fine. Great! Maybe it’ll break the humidity, and maybe I’ll get home before the skies open.
[NOTE: I ran out of gumption to write at that point, and let this sit for over a month.]
I was only slightly damp by the time I reached home, and, happily, my passport arrived last week. It was followed the very next day by a $25.00 check from the US Treasury (no hostile note included,) and the day after that with the returned copy of my official birth certificate. Amazing!