My passport photo.
stee keeps an enormous to-do list for his life. Past necessary errands include “Consolidate credit cards” and “Find accountant.” This year “Get a passport” floated to the top of the list. My agent was shocked to hear I didn’t have a passport, as if at any moment London is going to need me for emergency script surgery. She also demanded I get one immediately. We’ve been planning a trip to Toronto for… about five years now, and while we didn’t need a Passport to get to Canada, it seemed like a good enough excuse.
The day that we absolutely-positively-had-to-needed-to-must get the passport photo was one of the worst days my face has ever experienced. Strange break-outs happened all along my chin, the lingering effects of the last staph infection. My hair was in desperate need of a trim. I was post deadline, post Oxygen show and I’d been busy cleaning the house, getting finances in order. My to-do list was different than stee’s, you see. I have come to regret this.
I was ridiculously and irrationally furious that stee wanted to get our passport photos done the morning I wanted to get four uninterrupted hours of writing done. There’s a passport photo place right next to our coffee shop. stee had already said it wasn’t that important, we could do it another day, but I was now so frustrated with it all that I demanded we get our pictures taken right then and there. I was a big, whiny, bratty baby about it.
“Hair up or down?” I asked.
“Uh. Maybe… up?” stee knew both answers were incorrect. The only way I was going to look good in this picture was if I paid someone else to take it for me.
The passport guy asked if I wanted to see the picture when he was done. “No, thanks,” I said. “I’m going to try to never see it.”
“You are the first woman to ever say that here,” he said, shaking his head. “Normally, every woman want to look. Never satisfied.”
We had to expedite the passports at the post office because they keep your birth certificates. Did you know that? We didn’t. We couldn’t go anywhere near Canada without a passport OR a birth certificate. Two hundred dollars and three weeks later–
Our passports arrive. Minutes ago. And I look…. like… ANTM‘s Michelle. With Impetigo. For some reason the picture has red streaks on the side of my face, from my neck to my forehead, like I’ve broken out in an angry rash, like I’ve got a face full of birthmarks. The spot on my chin is darker than my pupils. I look diseased.
“Normally you are really pretty,” stee said. That doesn’t help.
“Hey, this passport’s only good for fifteen years.” Doesn’t help!
“Okay. That is the worst picture I’ve ever seen.”
Yes. That helps. The truth feels good.