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Sunday, November 25, 2018

How Not to Apply for a Passport

Scotto and I finally booked a holiday to New Zealand to be spent over the Christmas holidays.

Neither of us have a current passport and applying for a passport; the complex, tortuous bureaucracy entailed in obtaining a passport, is what has put me off overseas travel for almost two decades.

“I’ll agree to go overseas with you if I don’t have to do anything about my passport,” I announced to Scotto. “If you complete ALL the paperwork and brain numbing bureaucratic crap for me, then I’m in.”

Scotto was excited about an impending holiday and fastidiously finalised all the nit-picking, gathering of documents and cautiously informed me that all I had to endure was a quick trip to the post office to have my photo taken, then submit the paperwork in person.

“It’ll be quick and over in a few minutes, Pinky, You won’t feel a thing!” he assured me with a toothy grin.

The man at the post office on the mountain took three goes at taking my photograph. He said the first one was too blurry. The second photograph was also too blurry.

“This is perfect!” he announced beaming and holding up a photograph of a ninety-year-old crone who looked as though she hadn’t slept for a decade. The crone’s hair was greasy and her face bore a sad, resigned expression, like someone who smokes forty cigarettes a day, drinks gin for breakfast and whose children are all in jail for drug trafficking.

‘Never mind,’ I thought. I only have to look at it for ten years. Ten years will go quickly.

The following day, armed with all Scotto's meticulously organised paperwork, I conveyed the photograph of the haggard woman to another post office. 

It was happening. I would finally kick this onerous task to the kerb.

The lovely lady at the post office began to closely inspect my birth certificate.

“This is a copy. It’s not the original certificate,” she said, almost apologetically.

I paled. “No. It’s the original,” I argued in utter disbelief and panic. How could my husband send me on this dreaded errand with the wrong paperwork? Was he trying to kill me?

Another lovely post office lady came over to the counter, fingered the certificate and they both concurred that it was most definitely a copy.

“’S okay…," I whimpered. “I’ll come back tomorrow.”

I arrived home that afternoon and Scotto and I embarked on a maniacal quest of upending every tattered file, creased folder and silverfish-eaten shoe box in the house. 

Some hours later we discovered the original birth certificate ensconced under an ancient, overtly neglected bowel testing kit in my bedside table.

Back to the post office I traipsed the following day in a high state of trepidation. What else could go wrong?

I left the building floating on air. It was done. My dreaded passporting activities were over! The post office ladies were the nicest people in the world! I wanted to buy them flowers!

Two days later, I received and email from the Bureau of Pernickety Passporting.

“Dear Mrs Poinker,

The photograph you have submitted is blurry. If we don’t hear from you and you don’t send another photograph within 48 hours, we will cancel your application and you will have to start the entire process all over again. 

You must download this form, take it to a post office with the new photographs, sign the form in the presence of an officer and if you don’t you will lose the three hundred bucks you’ve already paid.

P.S. This is what happens when you try to dodge our fundamental and mandatory bureaucracy by shirking your personal responsibilities on to your long-suffering husband you indolent, old woman.”

I won’t say there were no tears shed on the receipt of this email, however, I dutifully proceeded to yet another post office to have my second lot of photographs taken. I made sure this post office had an extra-special, state of the art camera that guaranteed NO blurring. I also managed to get the form and photos sent within the 48 hours.

It’s been three days and I haven’t heard anything else. Fingers crossed.

Unbelievably, the second passport photo I had taken was even more insidiously ugly than the first. I have progressed from looking like a ninety-year-old crone to looking like Gollum.

Oh well. Ten years will go quickly.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

My Hot Pussy

You looking for me?

I scuttled around the kitchen last week preparing to leave for work and grabbed the cat food out of the pantry whilst simultaneously gargling mouthwash and wiping biscuit crumbs off the counter.

Normally, the cat hurtles to its bowl right in front of my feet, attempting to trip me and send me plunging head first into the hallway wall, but… the cat was no where to be seen. I heard the sound of bottles falling over and assumed the little shit was in the pantry.


I called it and checked the usual hiding spots; the shower recess, behind the curtains, my underwear drawer… nope.

I finished up putting my shoes, lipstick and sunscreen on, tired of its nonsense.

“Bloody cat’s hiding again!” I called out to Scotto as I opened the fridge to retrieve my lunch box just before I left the house.

Guess what I found sitting on the middle shelf with its feathery tail wrapped around a bottle of marinated olives?

I received such a shock, I screamed out in fright. 

You just don’t expect to see a hefty, snow white cat nestled amongst the margarine tubs when you open the refrigerator.

He was quite chilly to the touch when I pulled him out, too.

The entire incident has left me mortally traumatised. I can’t open the fridge now without a certain dread as to what I might discover in the salad crisper.

I don’t even know how or why he managed to get in. We were experiencing heat wave conditions at the time but surely that doesn’t explain the mystery of how he succeeded in leaping in without my knowledge?

Every time he disappears from sight now, I find myself obsessively and repetitively opening the fridge to check if he’s ensconced inside; slowly turning into a vanilla catsicle.

When I close my eyes at night, all I can visualise is a bloated, stiffened cat surrounded by condiment bottles and wilted spinach leaves. 

Imagine having to explain to people that my cat passed away in the bloody fridge. Nobody would ever eat at my house again and they'd definitely suspect I was some kind of sick, psychopathic murderer of cats.

You know that old saying about nine lives? Well… that’s one life down, eight to go.

And I’m talking about me… not the cat.

P.S.: The title of this post has been brought to you by the writers of "Are You Being Served".