The Electrician and I had a lovely dinner out tonight, but a big part of what made our meal fantastic was our server. She was thirty two –I’ll explain how we knew that in a minute– and she was the type of person who seemed genuinely happy to interact with her customers: a big plus in the service industry.
When The Electrician paid for dinner, he had to warn our server that his Visa card is rather broken from several years of bomping around town in his wallet. She commented that her birth certificate, having survived 32 years of use, is now so tattered that the passport office people refused to let her use it for identification. Apparently, a person needs a valid passport to get a new birth certificate, but a valid birth certificate is one of the required pieces of ID for a passport application. Go government jumping hoops, go!
Our server really ran into trouble when her old passport was refused as ID because there were several stamps inside that suffered water damage (I didn’t think to ask her how it happened) and it was declared void by the passport office. She was, indeed, out of luck. After several trips downtown to beg pity from the passport folks, she finally found one clerk that accepted her raggedy birth certificate but told her the passport must be entirely re-issued rather than just renewed because of the water smudging.
Step seven thousand was to have a new photograph taken. Our poor server ran into problems there, too, because the photographer couldn’t get a decent shot. She described being told to swivel, tilt, lean, squint less, squint more, quit smiling and look smarter as she sat for flash after flash of the camera. Finally, the photographer declared that he could not get a decent shot because her forehead was entirely too shiny. It seems a lifelike appearance is forbidden in Canadian passport photographs.
The poor server was told that she should have worn some makeup for her photos, but not, you know, too much makeup because that’s not allowed either. She was handed a total of four kleenexes and encouraged to rub the area above her eyebrows until the shine was suitably subdued. Poor girl.
I understand that the Government of Canada has a responsibility to ensure the security of the passport process. I’m pretty darn patriotic, on the whole, but my passport is almost due for renewal and I’m already dreading the process. Sometimes, it seems like the circus of hoops we’re required to leap through to get these federal papers issued is a ploy by the government to keep us home. After all, nothing boosts an economy like keeping all the tourism dollars in Canada, which becomes more and more a reality as the rules get stricter.
Maybe I’m lucky that I can’t afford far away holiday for quite a while, right?
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