How Not to Renew Your Passport
Before you begin:
This probably goes without saying, but do try to avoid letting your passport expire when you're planning a potential trip outside the country within a month. This will require a lot of Nervous Scrambling. Are you a moron like me? Congratulations! Let's begin:
1. Avoid making such realization on a rainy day. You need to get a new passport picture, remember? Frizzy rat's nest hair, ahoy! Very foxy! The SUPER FOXIEST!
2. Don't attempt to smile while your new passport picture is being taken, because then you will be admonished with a "NO TEETH SMILES!" from the photographer. Do you know how you look in a picture after you've just been told to dial back a smile? I shall tell you: Like you just smelled a fart, and you're annoyed, and are consequently working on a witty, cutting remark to make to the person who farted, and oh! you just thought of one, and you're really proud of it. Observe:
(The picture on the left is my old passport. It was evidently taken back in the Teeth Smiles Days. It was a simpler time. My overly-tanned 19-year-old-self was VERY EXCITED ABOUT AMERICA. USA! USA!)
3. Do you have your passport photos in hand? Great! Next, definitely DON'T call your local Passport Acceptance Center to ask if you can bring all your required updated renewal documentation stuff in so as to...have your...Passport...Accepted. Someone will pick up on the first ring, be exceedingly cordial, and say, "Sure! Come on in!" This is a trap. Don't fall for it. You're better than that.
4. Don't think it stopped raining. It didn't.
5. Don't traipse over to the post office (the location of said Passport Acceptance Center) with an air of hope, and one of cautious optimism. The post office senses these emotions, views them as a glitch in their matrix, and deploys its sentinels to quash it.
6. Accordingly, don't ask the woman behind the information desk where you should go to deal with the passport renewal. She will tell you that she can help you. She will then give you stunningly inaccurate information, eff up your entire application, and make you write a check (the only check you have on you) in the wrong amount.
7. As you leave in frustration with your now-useless check, don't miss the wee sign that says ~Passport Center~ by a little alcove near the exit.
8. DO NOT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD APPROACH THE WINDOW. EVEN THOUGH NO ONE ELSE IS ON LINE, AND THE MAN BEHIND THE WINDOW IS QUITE LITERALLY STARING OFF INTO THE DISTANCE. HE IS VERY, VERY SPECIAL INDEED, NOT UNLIKE THE RARE WAMPUS CAT, AND YOU SHALL UPSET THE DELICATE BALANCE OF HIS UNIVERSE BY APPROACHING HIS WINDOW BEFORE HE CALLS YOU, YOU UNTHINKING ASSHOLE. WHY DO YOU NOT SIMPLY SET YOURSELF AFLAAAAAME.
9. When he finally does deign to officially summon you, don't go up there without having memorized the titles of the completed forms. He'll be all, "Where's your DS-82?!" And you'll be nodding in that smiling, panicked way, thinking, "vitamins? Portable gaming system? WHA OH GOD HELP ME I DON'T WANT HIM TO YELL AGAIN." when it turns out he's referring to the form in your HAND, and is basically being a douche.
10. Don't be too stubborn. When he ultimately tells you to not to submit it, but to mail it, and "cross [your] fingers" that the renewal arrives in a timely fashion? You'd best suck it up and go to one of those expedited passport places and hand over twenty-two gillion dollars. (DO NOT UNCROSS FINGERS. DO NOT UNCROSS FINGERS.)