It seems to be a semi-permanent state of mind at the moment. For one reason and another, we are buried under a deluge of paperwork, which in addition to a daughter and two dogs who require GPS to have any hope of tracking them down, a third elderly (and very incontinent) dog, and the Wiggy one’s final exams coming up next week, I’m beginning to feel a little overwhelmed and out of sorts. And bearing in mind that the aforementioned paperwork requires accompanying passport sized photographs, my foul mood is going to be used to define me for the next ten years.
I am not photogenic at the best of times. I am going to be presenting at the Families in Global Transition Conference in Washington DC in March, and by far the most difficult part of the submission process was finding a decent photograph. Even the one on the home page of this website required low lighting and a number of Lemon Drop martinis to make me relax the rictus grin that usually characterises any photographic mementos. So the passport photos reluctantly posed for amid a stream of warehouse shoppers in our local Costco while in the grips of a particularly foul rage are never going to be good. Especially because a) I was sporting a glowing red spot the size of a decent mosquito bite, and b) I had not been informed of the photographic deadline until it was up, so there was no hope of a photoshopped retake.
Previous passport efforts have been so bad that they have rattled the composure of those most stony-faced of officials – the US border agent. He obviously felt that no sane person would present such a God awful picture unless they had spotless character, and waved me through, red-faced with the effort of keeping his sniggers in check. It would have been kinder if he had waited until I was out of earshot to actually explode, but one can’t have everything. I can only hope that the powers that be sent him for sensitivity training once they’d viewed the video footage..
But my major concern is not about crossing borders, legal residency or even verifying my identity. It’s the awful realization that whenever a person is missing, injured or in any way newsworthy, news channels go straight to the official documentation for the photo. As if that person’s situation wasn’t unfortunate enough, they are forever branded with a poorly lit, sunken eyed and pasty-skinned version of themselves staring like rabbits caught in headlights at the viewing public. Judging by my current photos, you may as well write off my innocence right there. Because they clearly show that I am capable of murder, even if it is of the Other Half for making me be forever recorded as the woman with wild hair, unstable eyes and what appeared to be an elementary school volcano project in the centre of her left cheek. My only hope lies in an all female jury. Given the circumstances, they would never convict.