Monday, November 8, 2010

Passports

Cute Child A
The whole family just got back from waiting in line to submit paperwork to get the kids their passports. Both kids look very cute in their passport photos, which I am crediting to the results of the recent election. Voters are angry and want things to change around here, and the first thing to change is that the electorate is no longer going to tolerate unflattering passport photos. Senator Feingold stopped fighting for his constituents and their right to look like decent non-felonious human beings in their photos, and look what happened to him. Thank you, newly-elected representatives, for protecting my child's future, particularly the future that encompasses the next five years before the passport expires and we have to get a new photo taken.

Baby W also has some thoughts on the election. As we were waiting in line to get passports he let out a loud grunt and voted copiously in his diaper, if you know what I mean, which I think was his way of commenting on the federal government and the illegitimacy of its authority to issue identification. Baby W's gone Tea Party on us, folks.

I had a brief moment of panic when the passport official fixed me with a gimlet eye and said, "You DID use black ink to complete the forms....RIGHT?" It turns out I had indeed used black ink, which is fortunate because apparently if passport seekers use blue ink to complete passport forms, the U.S. Department of State comes to a grinding halt, birds fall dead from the sky, Secretary Clinton makes a journey to the heartland to issue a personal rebuke, and the terrorists win.

The kids are getting passports because it's likely we'll make a trip to New Zealand soon to visit my father, who lives there. David has already visisted New Zealand and so won't be accompanying us. This means that I will be taking the two kids to New Zealand by myself. Yes, this is a daunting task, but I don't want your sympathy. What I want is your leftover prescription medications for the trip. Preferably Class II narcotics.

Cute Child B
When people hear that I do a lot of travelling to New Zealand, they are always very enthusiastic, because New Zealand has a reputation for being a beautiful vacation destination. And it's true that the landscape is scenic. But the cities, which is where I spend most of my time when I'm there visiting my father, are nearly indistinguishable from U.S. cities. When I spend thousands of dollars and 30 hours travelling across the world only to land in a city that has Starbucks and KFCs, it's a letdown. If I invest all those resources in travelling, I don't want the people at my destination to be white, for crying out loud. I would like to land in a place where they're selling turtles in the marketplace to make into fritters.

This is why whenever I see a Maori in New Zealand I want to chase after them and thank them for reminding me I'm not actually in Bismark, South Dakota even if that was my first impression, and maybe give them a litle kiss on the cheek if it wouldn't be offensive to their culture. (Maybe it would be better if instead of kissing, we rubbed noses in the Polynesian tradition.)

I'm looking forward to seeing my father, but there's just no way around the fact that New Zealand is very far away. I am disappointed that President Obama has done NOTHING about this issue, despite being in office nearly two years. Has he already forgotten how important the women-who-travel-to-New-Zealand-with-kids contingent was to the coalition that swept him into office? Obama needs to respond to the needs of real people with real problems. The way this country is going down the tubes, I have been tempted to move to Canada. Tempted, that is, until I found out that emigrating would require a passport.

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