So, on Thursday at 3.30pm, I went back to the post office for my second passport interview, with the brand new, bigger-headed (and significantly more ugly) photograph in hand.
“I’m sorry,” said the post office man, “you are too white”.
“I’m sorry?” says me, thinking I must have misheard, “did you just say I was too white?”
“Your face is too pale in the photograph, it does not match the skin on your chest, the skin on your chest is your real skin colour”.
“But,” I said, pulling the front of my shirt down a little, “my face and my chest *are* different colours, look! my chest is sun-tanned, my face isn’t”.
“I cannot accept it, your face looks too white and shiny”.
“But my face is shiny and pale, look at it”, says me, directing him to the whiteness and shininess.
“You will have to get another photograph and make another appointment, it is not my fault, those are the rules”.
There was a lot more calm too-ing and fro-ing, where I started to get teary (because I could see this photographer / post office exchange going on daily, for weeks) and then just started to cry at the frustration of it all (because I am a bit of a cryer, not really a shouter1) because he was intractable. But I made the additional appointment and then called Don, who suggested I try another post office – one which took passport photographs themselves.
The Professor suggested my situation was reminiscent of one of those awful Today/Tonight or A Current Affair segements: “Rejected for a passport because she was too white!!!” But in general, my tale caused much mirth all round (definitely one to dine out on).
So on my way to the gym on Thursday afternoon, I popped into another post office and asked them if I could make an appointment for a passport interview (having checked before that they also took photographs). The post office lady said, “oh, we don’t do that”. Cue my crestfallen face. “No, she continued, just bring your paperwork in whenever you like and we’ll do it then”. Consider me uncrestfallen! I asked if she could just check my paperwork and photograph, so I didn’t waste their (or my) time. She said the photo was fine (I then told her the story of being too white, which she said was ridiculous, that there was nothing wrong with it), she showed it to a colleague, who also said there was nothing wrong with it. “That officious little bastard”, I thought to myself (not for the last time).
Took the application in yesterday morning, did not have to queue, saw different lady, who also said there was absolutely no problem with my picture. I mentally cursed the officious little bastard yet again.
But now, finally, my application has been submitted. I paid the extra for priority processing, because I am dead keen to book those cheapo flights and get the holiday planning started in ernest.
The moral of the story?
World Square Post Office = very, very, very bad. Don’t go there for your passport (or anything).
Castlereagh Street Post Office (near the Park Street corner) = very, very, very good. Go there for your passport (and your postal needs)!
1well, except in every-day conversation. I’m somewhat loud at times.