austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Lonely days are gone, I'm a going home

I've got my new passport. My old one finally expired in March, after a half-decade of really properly intense use and then another half-decade of more typical use. Most of those uses were for getting on planes of various kinds, actually, although there was one time I used it in place of my driver's license because I ran out of gas. (Typical story for me.) The last use of my old passport was a somewhat ostentatious use of it as my proof of identity for picking up the package containing my new MacBook Pro.

The new passport --- which should get its first use next week as I fly out to bunny_hugger --- is nice and shiny and has that new-government-issued-document smell, of course. And it's got a considerably improved picture. My old wasn't bad, really, but early 2001 was a time when I weighed a lot more and had even less awareness of or enthusiasm for dressing like a grown-up. And I had a harder time getting to my barber's, since he was at the other end of a five-hour drive home instead of just east to the shore, so I was a bit shaggier. In the new picture I even look awake without looking like I've just been slapped by a fish; the fancy new digital cameras let me try my facial expression several times to reach that ideal.

But they didn't mail my old one back. I got my pre-2001 passport back, with a hole stamped to mark it as expired and no longer proof of anything except for what an expired passport is good for, back in 2001, but that was in a time much less concerned with weird spastic actions that vaguely resemble security. That takes away all those stamps from Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, both temporary and one- or two-year employment passes. I still have my green card from them (it is, literally, a green card), and it's not like those old stamps were valid for anything except a touch of my personal history. It hurts losing it; I hope the new passport gets as interesting a history.

Trivia: In 1870 a Harvard medical school student could fail four out of nine courses and still receive an MD. Source: The Great Influenza: The Story Of The Deadliest Pandemic In History, John M Barry.

Currently Reading: The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, Candice Millard.

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