The instructions were implicit: passport must be valid for six months within foreign travel dates.
My passport was set to expire a few days before the six month limit. Should I risk it?
I did, and there was a glitch. My boarding pass wouldn't print: PASSPORT INVALID. Oh no, I thought. This can't be happening.
I proceded to the agent. She looked at my passport and changed the trajectory of my night, my life: she printed my boarding pass.
So tonight, Tony picked a day-after-Valentine's restaurant close to the Fed Ex store that will take our passport photos. Danny, the young and cheerful employee, grabs the camera, pulls down the backdrop, and voila,~~a photo studio, step right up.
Content with a full belly of Indian food, I do step right up and flash a big grin.
"Excuse me," Danny smiles, "you can't show your teeth."
I feel like a mean dog. I close my mouth and lose the smile.
"Ma'am, I need you to make sure your ears are showing."
I feel like a poodle in a dog show.
"Oh, is this a new requirement?" I ask Danny. My last passport was issued in 2007, and I assume a lot of changes have been made. I push my bushy hair behind my ears. It's not enough.
"I need to see your entire ear."
Okay. I fuss just a bit more.
"The one on the right."
"Should I take off my coat?" I ask Danny.
"Actually no. You can't take a passport photo while wearing a white shirt."
Thank goodness for the black coat.
"If you were wearing glasses, you'd have to remove those too. No eyeglasses."
"Ma'am, you need to push your hair behind your ears. No, no, like this. Yes. That's good."
After looking to the side of the camera, I ask if I'm supposed to be looking directly into it.
"Yes, I believe so. We can just retake it."
He deletes the photo.
I stand erect and prepare for the second photo.
"Hair behind your ears." Pause. "Push it back again."
Danny processes our photos.
Tony says, "Come here, this is the strangest photo of you."
I cautiously approach the counter. "You're right."
Danny rings up our purchase: $32 for two wallet sized photos that will open the door to the world.