Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No Smiling I'm Half British

Lucy is now a whopping 10 weeks old, and you know what that means in the K household?

Passports!

Here's Lucy's picture, and below that Anna's, also taken at 10 weeks.















































What do you think? Sisters?

I think they look very alike, except Anna was a cheery old soul with a rounder face and a too-cute-to-be-true hair tuft and Lucy has the weight of the world on her tiny shoulders and has perfected her new-world-order economic-meltdown look of gloom.

As it happens I also have to renew my passport, which you can do out of the country if you can pony up one hundred million dollars and lure a current British passport holder to counter-sign your application. Amazingly I am able to do just that (well, the second half anyway) due to a freak birthing of my friend Mooks in England while her parents were studying Shakespeare in Stratford. I knew I liked her.

So there we were in Sears, Lucy frowning in to the camera perfecting her superior British scowl, apparently unaware she was posing for her American passport and cheerfulness was allowed. I gave my hair a cursory finger-comb, tried to look British and OH. MY. GOD. the chins, the eye-bags, the lank unstyled hair. Don't get your passport photo taken two months after you've had a baby.

Is it vanity to think your passport photo is so bad you want to rush to another photographer and have it retaken? Well yes of course it is, but bloody hell I'd even slapped a bit of lippy on, but obviously to no avail. I will grant you than any photo of me wearing white, against a white background leaves me looking pale at best and bizarrely suspended nostrils and eyelashes at worst but damn.

It isn't helped by the fact that my last passport photo is really rather good. So good that several INS workers have looked at it, looked at me, and concluded that either we're different people or that that was one hell of a bad flight.

You could think positively on the situation and conclude that, well, your age 35 photo is really shitty, but in 10 years time if you have a good photo taken then you'll actually look better than your 35 year old self. I couldn't look worse surely. However, I know what it's like to live with a shockingly bad passport photo.........

When I was sixteen my family were driving down to Harwich? to catch the ferry over to Belgium to spend Christmas with my Aunty and Uncle. It was a Saturday, the day before Christmas Eve. I think it was an overnight ferry and it was pretty late in the day as we were nearing the coast. That's when I casually asked my Dad - "since I'm 16 now don't I have to have my own passport?"

*Crickets*

The answer of course was, yes. The reality was, no, I did not have my own passport.

To cut a long story shockingly full of expletives short, we filled in some emergency passport forms, and I had my photo taken in a crappy WWII throwover photo booth. I think we boarded the ferry with an idea that we could certainly be able to leave the UK, but there were no guarantees I would be able to get back. From Belgium. I thought that was bad. Then I saw the photo.

This is the picture I carried with me as my only form of ID in the States for many years.....




























There's really no excuse for any of it. All I can say is, from the looks of that jumper, thank God it's a black and white photo.

Fast forward 10 years and we have this ethereal photo. As I said, pupils, nostrils and not much else.
























Quite a transformation from 16 to 25 don't you think? As a bouncer in SB said when reviewing my passport as ID 'hon, you've grown in to yourself well'. Well the degeneration from 25 to 35 is no less dramatic, and that's why I'm going back to get my photos retaken this afternoon.

5 comments:

Lucia's Mom said...

amazing! all of it!

Hyphen Mama said...

Ha! We went to get Mack a passport when he was a few months old. They wouldn't allow him to "sit" back in his car seat (or any seat) and he couldn't stand up... so the picture is of my husband's hands, holding him up in front of the special white screen. My husband carries that photo in his wallet because it's so humorously bizarre. Having Mack "sign for" and "acknowledge" the passport application while standing in the post office was priceless.

The best part is that even though we had the application in 13 weeks before travel plans, the passport arrived the DAY my husband left for Canada....without us. As our children had no passports.

I love your 25 year passport photo.

Heather said...

Since when did getting a British passport become so damned expensive. I HATE my current passport photo there is no way on Earth I would post it on my blog.

Smitten by Britain said...

I'm getting ready to apply for my son's first British passport (he's 17 now.) May I ask how long it took for you to receive your daughter's passport (or have you?) Any problems?

AliBlahBlah said...

Smitten - I'm applying for American passports for the girls so I don't think that'll be helpful for you. I'm renewing a British one here in the States and I'm sending the paperwork in tomorrow so I'll let you know how long it takes. Hopefully less than 3 months otherwise I'm buggered!!