Close Call: I consider myself pretty organized. I have a PDA and I make lists. I even make lists for my lists but that's scary and not worth discussing in depth.
So I looked down my nose at people who spent the last few days before a foreign vacation trying to get their passports renewed. What jackass would wait until the last minute to get a passport? This jackass.
Months ago, my wife and I planned a trip to Dublin to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Less than 24 hours before our flight was scheduled to take off, we realized that my passport expired in July, 2003. My heart started palpitating as soon as I got her cell phone call the night before we were supposed to fly out of JFK.
It was either get the passport renewed today or wave to my wife as she walked down the corridor to her waiting Aer Lingus flight.
Growing up in NYC I always had the notion that you had to know people to cut through bureaucratic red tape so I called a friend who knows everyone. I was told he "had a guy" in the passport office. Unfortunately, I found out that the "guy" was retired (probably working on his putting on a Boca Raton golf course) so I was without a Rabbi when I needed one most.
My friend, who is a wise man, told me to relax. He said the U.S. State Department actually has a service that will give you your passport on the same day if you get to their NYC office before the sun comes up and throw yourself at the mercy of the government.
I made a telephone appointment the evening before, rushed out to a late night Kinkos for passport photos and was about 6th in line when the doors opened this morning.
There's something a bit unnerving about being in a situation where you have absolutely no control. Your fate is in the hands of someone sitting behind bulletproof glass reviewing your paperwork and not looking up much.
I was as sweet as any human can be without turning into a pile of sugar. Fortunately, the clerk was even sweeter. She must be used to people groveling up to her window with some "dog ate my homework" explanation for why the passport must be renewed today or else.
Maybe it was the luck of the Irish (I'm not but I've been to the old sod twice in about a year) but by 1:20 pm I was walking out of the Passport Agency with a crisp new passport in my hand. My wife is now carrying the passports so there's little chance they'll be misplaced.
I'm off to the airport now and I won't be posting to Nuggets until next Tuesday. My wedding anniversary actually falls on September 11th. Last year we gave ourselves over to commemorating those who died in the 9-11 attack on the WTC. This year, we decided to take back September 11th and try to move on - however hard that is to do.
Moving on to Dublin is a step in that direction.