Saturday, January 31, 2009

Striking Out

For the last couple of days I've been in Hawai'i for another exercise with the Marine Corps Reserve. Within a few hours of arriving here, expecting to go to Thailand, someone asked me if I had my passport. I was a bit puzzled because no one had mentioned that before then. Of course, since I don't have a passport I had to answer 'no.' I knew immediately that was going to be a problem. I've never needed a passport because a military ID card and official orders were always enough to get me through customs every other time I've gone overseas.

Fast forward 20 hours and I'm standing at the window to the passport office with my birth certificate in hand, an empty FedEx envelope in the rental car, and 31 less dollars in the bank. Sorry, says the bureaucrat, but we can't accept this. The document I've always had stashed away since time immemorial is just a hospital issued thing with no legal weight. (Interesting side note, it was apparently good enough for the recruiter who enlisted me into the Marines.)

So the chapter ends with me not going to Thailand, which was supposed to be a pretty good gig, and another officer here getting last minute notice that he was leaving on Monday. So now I will be doing his project for the next couple of weeks instead. As luck would have it, I think I know more about his project than he does and he's got a Thai wife. Sometimes things work out OK.

And, as they say around here, even if you're having the worst day of your life, you're still in Hawai'i.

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