Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Saga of the Missing Passports

No doubt the following statement will inspire the FBI (or is it CIA?) to begin a file on my nefarious behavior:

I hate government bureaucracy.

Or, to be more specific, I hate sweating over whether or not our passports will arrive in time to take our long-awaited family vacation. I have attempted several times to avert the sweating by dialing the telephone number at which one is—in theory—able to check on the status of their passport application(s). Applications which, by the by, were completed within the correct timeframe to—in theory—receive the passports in time for (as I believe I've already mentioned) our long-awaited family vacation. But, of course, no one except an automated voice ever, ever, ever answers the phone at that god-forsaken number.

When all else fails, turn to the Internet, right? Right! Except that every time I click on the link which—again, in theory—leads to the page on which one is able to check on the status of passport applications, the page is blank. After giving this the ol' college try about twenty times, I decided to try it on the spousal unit's computer. This worked, but led me to believe that the government is not a strong supporter of the Macintosh operating system. Anyways, after typing information into several little boxes, I did indeed retrieve the "status" of our passport applications.

The "status" is that the applications have been received.

That's it.

Well, that is not my definition of "status."

"Status" should reveal—should it not?!—when the freaking things are going to be mailed and if I will receive them in time for (and once again I believe I've already mentioned this) our long-awaited family vacation.

Next I called the San Francisco passport agency which, I learned, would not see me unless I had an appointment. Great! Appointments are terrific. There's nothing like standing face-to-face with someone and handling your business. Except. Except that the next available appointment is on April 5th. Not surprisingly, our long-awaited family vacation is supposed to begin a few days before that.

Next stop: friendly Filipina passport clerk at post office, who accepted applications and who also, via a complicated twisting of family trees, was able to claim some sort of kinship with me. Stay tuned.

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