Passport to the future

What an exciting day!

At last the long wait is over and I can now apply for my new credit card sized plastic passport.

Be still my beating heart!

So what use is this new card?  Well, no use is probably the best answer.  It doesn't replace the old passport: it's more a card saying you have a passport but that it's lying forgotten at the back of your underwear drawer.  So now you have to shell out between eighty and a hundred yoyos for a passport and then an extra thirty five yoyos to effectively say that you have shelled out eighty to a hundred already.  The Yoof of today will clamber over themselves to get one though as it's a grand excuse to take dozens more "selfies".

The new card is [I gather] optional so I really don't see much point in it.  They do say however that it will be invaluable as a card giving your age if you want to buy a drink or something.  That sounds suspiciously like an identity card to me, so doubtless at some future stage we will be forced into an identity card scheme with the excuse that we already have passport cards, so what is there to bitch about.  Yet another step on the path to becoming faceless numbers where we are mere chattels of the state valued only as production units.

I got my first passport back in '82 for my first trip to La Belle France.  Frankly the only use I had for it on that trip was when I was cashing traveler's cheques.  I remember in one bank the teller was amazed at there was an Irish language and she begged me to say something in Irish.  Naturally my mind went blank [I wasn’t exactly prepared for this] and I recited the Our Father which was drilled into me as a kid.  The teller was highly impressed and asked me what I had said.  I told her it was an old Irish poem, which caused a couple in the adjacent queue to collapse laughing.  I didn't know they were Irish too. 

I have had a passport ever since and the only time it ever sees daylight is a brief flash if I'm driving on or off the ferry to France. 

As it happens, I noticed that my passport expires next year.  I contemplated whether it would be worth renewing or not, as the likelihood of further foreign holidays is receding somewhat.  Then I remembered that I am entitled to a free passport as I'm over sixty five.

On checking, I discovered they abolished that little perk some years ago.

Fucking bastards!

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Passport to the future — 8 Comments

  1. At that French bank you could have translated the  Gaelic "Ar n-Athair ata air nèamh" into the Latin "Pater noster qui es in coelis" and that woulda given the young lady a high impression of Irish culture. Or you coulda said something like 'Tabhair dom pog agus beidh athas orm', and translated it as: I like cashing travellers cheques here. Remember, whenever you open your mouth in a foreign place you are an ambassador for your country.

    • "Póg mo thóin"?

      Whenever I am in a foreign country I am an ambassador for myself and myself alone.  My country can appoint its own ambassadors if it so wishes.  Another thing I refuse to do while abroad is wear an Irish football jersey!  The only concession to being Irish is my little IRL sticker on the car, but that's mainly to show I'm not British, as the French have this notion that any right hand drive car or English speaking person must be from the UK.  For some strange reason they seem to hate the Brits and love the Irish.

      • You're lucky, we Scots are thought, by the French, to be English.  

        This is despite the Auld Alliance of the 13th century between Scots and the French.  During the 100 years war, 50,000 Scots fought with the French against England and Wales.      Up to the Entente Cordial of 1904 (between the UK and France) I would have had (automatically) dual nationality if I lived in France.

        The French king was protected by the Guarde Ecossais (Scot's Guards) as he could not trust his fellow countrymen with his life.

        The French don't do history.

        P.S. They also think that it was only the Americans who came to France on D-Day.

        • Heh. That's enough ethnic talk. I'll tell you one about Paddy the Irishman, Paddy the Englishman and Paddy the Scotsman going into a Belfast pub later, after I've had a few pints. Grandad in his post sees the optional passport card costing 35 yoyos (euros, which unlike yoyos don't rebound) as the thin end of a wedge leading to the introduction of standardised plastic digitised Identity Cards. Vorsicht! Donner und Blitzen! Achtung Baby! 

        • Many's the time I went into a shop and started into by very poor French [best mark I ever got in a French exam – 10%].  The response is usually scowls and a stream of incomprehensible local dialect.  I then gently tell 'em I'm Irish and immediately they're all smiles and able to speak English!!

          I don't know what the reasoning is behind all this [History was another subject I consistently failed] but they certainly like th'Irish.

  2. This is rather an amazing coincidence as my small country state of Vermont is doing basically the same thing this new card is actually part of your drivers license. At least for those of us who drive and actually have a drivers license.

    There's a couple new types as well when it comes to renewing (in my case) my license. There's either a "Privilege" card which is equivalent of the old drivers license which cannot be used as an ID even though the old type of drivers license could be used as an ID.

    Next, there's a "Real ID" card which is a combination drivers license and ID card which is required when entering federal courts, federal buildings and nuclear power plants, although I can't quite fathom why I would want to enter a nuclear power plant after living, working, eating and sleeping less than 100 ft from a nuclear reactor for 5 years (and no, my balls don't glow in the dark).

    Finally, there's the "Enhanced" drivers license (EDL). As follows:

    U.S. citizens returning home from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, are required to present a U.S. Passport or an Enhanced License/ID. Must be Vermont resident AND U.S. Citizen. Must also complete form VL-11. An EDL is both Real ID and EDL

    They obviously can't spell "form".

    This, of course, doesn't tell me if this new EDL works if I'm leaving the US for Canada, Mexico or Bermuda. They seem to have left that part out.

    Not only has the state taken what used to be a relatively simple process and made it much more complicated but they also appear to have made it nearly impossible to renew an old style drivers license in the first place. Short form birth certificates are no longer valid, you have to have a certified long form birth certificate which is only obtainable from town/city in the state you were born in (I have trouble remembering breakfast let alone what  town I was born in). Then you need a valid social security card and mine happens to have disappeared in some obscure river in "Down East" Maine years ago. Then there's proof of residency, etc and so on.

    In short, they require absolute proof that you are who you are when none of the current forms of ID are valid as IDs any longer.

    Looks like I'm gonna be hoofing it come March of 2016.

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