Sure I smell just as great no matter what you call me, but it turns out smelling as sweet as a rose didn’t help me get a passport. Actually it probably did a little. But no matter what your scent is, what really counts is your name. Your name specifically being the same on all your government issued IDs.
Easy right? Not so much for me. Remember?
In my never-ending quest to replace my, ahem, lost passport, I hit every single barrier I feared I would, and then some. Luckily everyone was super nice to me, which I’m assuming is because I smell good.
As I thought, having different names on my health and SIN cards and my birth certificate was problematic. And for some wacky reason your health and SIN cards trump your birth certificate. Who knew! So I COULD have my passport issued under “Margaret” but then not only would my flight ticket be void, but then my banking info (and all the rest of my life) would not match my passport, which is a big no no. People much prefer it when your banking info matches up to your passport. So the kind passport lady said to me “You are going to have to do something about your names.” The solution? As simple as a new health card, apparently!
Farewell red and white health card of days gone by. I will miss you. Especially when I am waiting in line every five years renewing your flashy replacement. Though, the new one will be handy in that it is photo ID, and I can use it as such for the purchasing of alcoholic beverages, and shaking my groove thang. Fabulous.
So off I ride, away from the surprisingly rather empty passport office to the Service Ontario centre at College Park. Not so empty here. Also, turns out I need proof of address, and my National Geographic magazine is not gonna cut it. So I’m handed a fancy priority ticket, and I ride home to get a bill of some sorts. One quick puppy walk, and I’m off again to College Park. It turns out that the dumber you are the faster you get served, which normally would offend me, but today worked greatly in my favour. This fancy “you’re an idiot and came unprepared” priority ticket meant I got served within minutes of arriving! Albeit for the second time, but hey. Hooray for originally not having all my documents!
Whizz bang boom! New health card on the way and a piece of paper to prove it. Annnnd I’m rolling down Victoria back to the passport office, which, thankfully is still empty. Priority ticket in hand, I get called to the front immediately and present all my happy documents to a new passport lady. She subtly scolds me for losing it in the first place, and warns me that if it happens again I get put on a security watch list! How fun! But then assures me that it will arrive at my local postal outlet in time for my trip to NYC at the end of August. She also points out that I can now take my health card to the bar instead of my passport, you know, to not, uh, lose it again.
Thanks passport lady!
Lessons I’ve learned in this ordeal:
1) Name your child ONE name: Prince, Cher, Madonna. Their parents managers all got it right. You can’t confuse that shit.
2) I’d say have all your documents ready in an effort to reduce your frustration, but really if you forget something and have to go get it, you get to be first in line when you come back. Though you do have to go home and get it… So maybe “pretend” you don’t have something, grab a coffee and then go be first in line.
Bureaucracy: It’s all about cheating the system.
3) Don’t lose your passport in the first place. Seriously. I don’t care how much you want to dance.
Also, smell good.