Friday, August 5, 2011

The no-fly "photo" list

I tend to put off doing the things that should be done because I am not quite ready. Not quite ready to get on the scale at the doctor's office so I schedule an appointment a month or two out. Not quite ready to get in a bathing suit so plan on swimming in the summer of 2012. Not quite ready to see an old friend until my bangs grow out so I put her on the "I'll get back to you after I look at my calendar" list, and now, after four attempts at trying to get a decent passport picture, not quite ready to submit myself to years and years of suffering, having to look at a very disturbing image of someone who looks like me, only much older and frankly, a little frightening with her "deer caught in the headlights" glare.

My passport expired a few years ago and I have been meaning to renew it. I went down to the Photo Pro, which they are definitely not pro's in my opinion or they never would have let me walk out of there with such shabby workmanship. They would have wanted to protect their good reputation (if they have one) they would have been kind, and said, "how 'bout we take another shot or two." But no, they just slid it into the passport folder, like this was some kind of acceptable.

I couldn't take it down to the post office with my passport application. I just couldn't. That really can't be me, can it? The jowls, the scowl, the one droopy looking eyelid, the deep "laugh lines" (that don't look so funny) around my mouth, and the creepy crawly neck tissue. OMG. I could be detained at the customs bureau just for looking this scary.

I tried to take a new picture a few months later, and with the same end result. Oh forget it, I am just going to be stuck on US soil for the rest of my life! I will not travel if this is what it comes down to. I didn't even know I was that vain. But I ended up going home and stared at myself in the mirror. How come I look so much better here at home? Or do I? Who am I fooling? Maybe I should wait till fall or winter, wear a turtleneck or a scarf. They would probably make me remove it and then what would I have, just more weathering on my face.

I tried again last week, Photo Pro, I'm giving you another chance. The very same result. I even asked the "photographer" after he snapped the camera and I could feel I wasn't quite ready, "Is it horrendous?" His monotone reply; "They want the mug shot." "Oh great, then it is horrendous." I thought he might feel just a sting of sympathy for me, offer to re-do it, but no, he just shrugged his little whimpy shoulders. I didn't even look at it until I got to the car. No, no, no! Not again. I wasn't sure if I should cry or run to the nearest plastic surgeon, which truthfully, I have preached against my entire life, but at that moment, it was looking like it might be my only option.

So after several attempts and a waste of $12.50 per awful photo, I tried Rite-Aid. I was told they were cheaper and quick. The photo the clerk took made my old Photo Pro photo look like the cover of Glamour Magazine. This time I was only out $7.50 and one more additional hit to my sagging self-esteem.

I guess if I ever want to travel outside the country I am going to have to bite the bullet and submit one of these photos. Hopefully when I go through customs the agent will look at the passport and then me, back at the passport, then at me, "Is this really you? You look so much younger and vibrant in person!" Thank you, I tell him, and as I tuck the passport back in my bag, give him a big American "Crest White Strip" smile.

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