me-you-them

 

I just realised how the ordealof renewing my British passport fits here.

Filling in the application, I was already nervous - not being born in Britain but Australia. I know that Australia is commonly seen as a 'good' colony to have come from... so in my anxiety I figured it should be a plus point. On the other hand my dad's name (which I had to enter into the application form) is completely foreign. It sounds almost Russian, or at least Eastern European. Big minus point potentially for that - but at least the Cold War is over, I rationalised.

Why was I so scared just renewing my passport?

Because it is the document which allows me to live where I choose. And because I wasn't born here, I don't take that right for granted. I was afraid someone in authority would scrutinize my application and refuse it for whatever reasons that chose. Had we not been 'at war' I'm not sure whether I would have felt this way... but you never know.

The next hassle came from the photo part of the application process. Since my last passport I now wear glasses and so I wore them for the photo. I had read the guidelines and figured that glasses were ok. If something about a person's appearance is radically altered from the last passport, then a counter-signature is required. My glasses don't significantly alter my appearance so I was sure they'd be ok.
When I went tot the post office to have my application processed, they stopped me and said glasses would need a counter-signature. Now I had to spend time getting to my doctor's surgery to ask him to sign the form and photo. As he was going to charge 15 for the privilege, I didn't bother and searched for other 'acceptable' authorities to sign it for free.

To cut a long story short, I decided in the end just to send it to the passport office without any counter-signature. I figured that because I am white I would be able to 'get away with' glasses.
Was I right?
Yep. Was I right to think that?
That's another question.
Of course, I don't know whether the post office stopped me because they were being officious or because, in their experience, people's appearances that have changed even a little get knocked back. The postal workers at that branch are all Asian in origin.

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