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  • Writer's pictureClarke Wallace


It’s that time of the year, for us anyway to sign up for our new

passports. The old ones are running out, though we haven’t

planned to travel outside Canada anytime soon.

You never know when an occasion might pop up unexpected.

Updating a passport, expiring in Canada every five years,

comes when you least expect it. If you’re like me, you wait until

it’s too close to ending its life before your drag yourself off

to fix it.

Rosanne and I found where to renew our passports tucked away in a small

corner of a large suburban mall. We were waved into two seats among a forest

of empty chairs and left to fill out all the stuff the government knows about us


The one in charge pointed to Roe who disappeared into a small, dark

cubbyhole leaving me to wonder if I’d ever see her again.

It took time before she reappeared to shrug it off with an almost

satisfied grin.

I was next to sit on a small four-legged stool. I was told to look straight into

the camera. “Don’t smile,” warned the guy crouched behind it. “And sit still.”

We waited for the results which never in these circumstances ever turn

out as we hoped. You almost wonder who took your place in front

of the camera. (see photo below)

Author’s comment: Why do photos taken for passports end up to be

the worst you’ve ever seen of yourself? What little gremlin inside the camera

decides to make you look like someone you hardly recognize?

Worse, arrive in a foreign country and pass your passport to

a Customs officer who scowls as if the likeness of you doesn’t match who

he’s looking at.

Seconds go by before it’s handed back. You take a deep breath.

You’re home free, to move on.

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