Okay. Back to the matter at hand. Since the passport denial seemed so absurd, I thought that maybe....just maybe....this was my brother-in-law's way of getting back. I wasn't so sure why he would play the joke on me when it was 100% Carmen who devised, planned and executed the notorious scam. But, I figured....what better way to torture a man than to make his wife completely miserable? So, given that thought and knowing how my brother-in-law's mind might work when it comes to that.....it made total sense to me that he could be behind the passport farce. And, if he was.....he would soon be crowned the king of punking! Because this was no ordinary prank. There were tears. My ship was not coming in. It would have been a wonderful miracle if it would have been my brother-in-law. But, no such luck. The post mark was Charleston, SC. It was the U.S. Government.
We were in the middle of running the typical Saturday morning errands and had just stopped home to pick up some lunch and switch cars. As I was bantering with Carmen and Toni about possible lunch menus, I spotted the very official looking envelope on the kitchen counter. Here's what it said---in a nutshell....they can't establish my identity.....sorry. Since they don't know who I am..even though I provided the documents they asked for---they just can't let me leave the country. They went on to say that if I can establish who I am and if I can provide sufficient evidence to prove who I am in the next 90 days, my application can be reviewed. In other words...they were asking.....who are you Judi?
Now, here's the part of the story that made me suspect my brother-in-law was toying with me. In the letter, they provided a long list of documents that I could enter into evidence to prove my identity. At the top of the list....."School yearbook photograph with your name and photo, also with the school's name and year that it was issued"......and another....."Newspaper/Magazine articles with your name and photo along with the newspaper's name and date of publication" and still another....."A traffic ticket". See what I mean? These items would establish my identity beyond a shadow of a doubt? Not the birth certificate that I dutifully sent in? Not the photo copy of my drivers' license that the passport guy at the post office made? I was born. I drive. Those are facts. But, my high school year book picture? What does that prove? That I had bad taste when it came to hairdos? All I could do was wipe away the tears that were trickling down my cheeks. Who am I?
You know, if it wasn't for the fact that this whole passport business might screw up something very important to me....it was actually a very wonderful experience. Touching the past and seeing the past in the future was a a gift. Tracing my finger across my mother's signature. Seeing my daughter's nose. Imagining the young faces of people who are still....50 years later....in my life. Gifts I would have never received if the U.S. Government wouldn't have dubbed me unidentifiable.
So, who am I? A girl with a Lapband on a journey. It's still that simple. But, the most important thing is that my journey started long before this. In fact, my journey is just the continuation of the journey that was started on the day my parents signed my birth certificate. That's who I am.....really.
Got that Mr or Ms U.S. Department of State?