I looked at him. "Um ... sure, tell me about how your day went yesterday."
"Okay, well, before I begin, you remember that part in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where it stops and says something like 'before we continue, let us assure you that everything does, in fact, work out all right?'"
"Yesssss," I said, a bit hesitantly.
"Then let me just say that everything works out okay in the end," he said.
I sighed. "All right," I said, "lay it on me."
"Well, I was all set to go to the post office with my new birth certificate and pictures and everything. I was going to get there just about when they opened so that there wouldn't be any lines or anything. So I went to gather up all the stuff, and I realized I couldn't find the envelope where I had the documentation and the passport photos."
"Oh geez," I groaned.
"I was getting a little worried, but then I remembered I had that in my backpack. But the other day, I had a Sprite in there, and I'd left it in the car and it sort of exploded so I took the backpack up to my office at school and took everything out of it so the backback could dry out."
"And the Sprite wrecked the photos?" I asked with some trepidation.
"No, no, they were fine, but I had to go all the way up to school and get them. I ended up getting to the passport place about an hour later, but when I drove up, there were almost no cars there at all. Then, when I went in, there was nobody in line! I just walked right up!"
"Is this where I cue the ominous music?"
"No, it was great. I walked up and said I'd like to apply for a passport. The lady said, 'Well, I'll need your birth certificate.' I *whipped* out the birth certificate and said, 'Like THIS?' And she said, 'Perfect. Okay, I also need you to fill out this form.' So I *yanked* out the form that I'd already filled out and said, 'You mean THIS form?' And she said, 'Oh, yeah, that's great. Now I just need two passport photos.' So I *pulled* out the photos, and I said, 'Like THESE?' And she looked at them and said, 'Um .... actually, I think these are too light. I don't think they'll accept them.'" He paused for a moment so the full effect of these words could sink in.
"You're kidding," I said.
"No," he went on, "she showed them to the other lady there, and she said that maybe they'd accept them, but it was iffy. But no problem, they took another picture of me right there, so that was okay. Then I asked about the expediting, and the lady said, 'Oh, well, yes, you can request it to be expedited, but we're running about six weeks behind on that, so I don't think it'll really help.'"
Okay, that was bad. It was already April 26th, and the cruise was June 1st. Six weeks just was not going to cut it.
"What did you do?" I asked him incredulously.
"Well, I said, 'Look, I'm going to Canada for like an hour and a half on June first. Is there something I can do to get this accomplished? I mean, this is getting a little ridiculous.'"
"And the lady said, 'Oh, no problem, there are agencies that will expedite your passport for you for a fee and you can get it in less than a week. Just google for fast passport and you should find a bunch of them.' So, I guess I'm going to do that," he concluded.
Now, bear in mind that over the last few weeks I'd been suggesting to Dad that he just go with one of these passport expediting agencies. We'd used one when a company I worked for got passports for half the staff on the assumption that we were going to take a trip to Belize to set up a gambling site. (Don't ask.) Anyway, it worked great and we had our passports in a few days.
"So," I said, "you're going to do what I've been SAYING you should do for the last few weeks."
Dad looked a bit hurt. "Well, those cost money," he said, "and if you do the expedite with the regular passport thing it doesn't cost anything. Supposedly, they could have gotten me the passport on time, but now, since they can't ... well ..." he trailed off.
"Ah," I said. "So, do you want me to see if I can find the one that did ours?"
"Sure, that'd be great."
I got up off the couch, and headed for my office. "Hey, you don't have to do that right now," Dad protested.
"No, it's fine," I said. "Let's do it right now. Lord knows what else might come up if we wait."
After a bit of a search, I decided that AmericanPassport.com was probably the agency we had used, so I gave Dad the address, he thanked me, and we went our separate ways.
Finally, it looked like the cruise would be able to go on as planned. Of course, we still had to see what would happen with AmericanPassport.com...
[to be continued]