19 March 2010
Posted by Paul Anater at 6:14 AM
That's French for "The State Department Stole My Memories" if you need a translation.
My new passport arrived yesterday and to my horror, my old one wasn't returned. To all of you non US-ians, our passports are valid for ten years. When our ten-year term is getting close, we fill out a form, get a new photo taken, write a check and send all of that and our old passport to the State Department. After a couple of weeks, the new one arrives. In the same envelope is the old passport, only with a couple of holes punched in the first page, making it invalid.
Getting back the old passport means that we get to hold onto our old passport stamps and visas. Getting my passport stamped is one of my life's greatest thrills and I love to thumb through my old passports and remember different places where I've been.
Well, for some ungodly reason my old passport wasn't in the envelope yesterday. I know it's not a big deal but it really bothers me. I paid a lot of money to get those passport stamps and more than that, they represent a ten-year chunk of my life that I can't get back.
My last passport was stamped for the first time in the lovely country of Grenada and got its final stamp when I flew back to the US from The Bahamas last fall. Ten years, three continents and countless miles and experiences lived in those passport stamps and now they're in the bin of a shredder in Washington. Had I known I'd never see that old passport again I would have ripped out all of its pages before it sent it back.
So fellow US-ians beware. When you turn in your old passport send it off with a fond fare thee well because you're never going to see it again.
A bas la bureaucratie! Vive les anciens passeports!