My passport is about to expire.
Not that I'm going
anywhere exotic in the near future (unless you count Disney, for
Thanksgiving ... and yes, that's a story worthy of its own post, I
suppose), but still, it's useful to have an unexpired passport. And
having one makes me think that some day, I'll get to travel again like I
used to do, only this time with extremely cooperative children in tow.
I was pleased to discover that the renewal process was pretty easy for someone with unexpired documents; all I have to do is fill out a form
online, and send in the form with my old passport and a photo.
consider myself adept at Photoshop, so I probably could have found a
picture of myself to adjust appropriately (they have some bizarre rules
about how large your face needs to be within the two inch square of the
photo), but I thought it would be even easier just to let someone else
take care of it, so I didn't have to worry about finding an
appropriately expressionless specimen. So I went to CVS. 'Cause,
yeah. Drugstore photo center.
The CVS near campus is
abuzz with undergraduate and faculty activity during the day. We don't
have a grocery store nearby, so they might as well be one, minus the
produce. I tried to be inconspicuous, leaning across the counter to ask
the clerk whether they take passport photos, but "YEP, WE DO!" she
cheered, pulling down a white screen from the ceiling with a flourish.
Voila! Passport photo studio. I spotted one of my students looking
away as she skirted down the cold remedy aisle, trying to offer me some
Some people hate having their pictures taken. I don't actually hate it; it just makes me conscious of my crooked eyebrows and slightly uneven eyelids, which still stand as testament to the stitches I got in the fourth grade, when Richie Gustafson slammed a frisbee-filled fist into my glasses and then into my face during a frisbee football game. But this? Something about this felt different.
I removed my glasses (an unusual accessory
for me, since I prefer to wear contact lenses), my earrings, and my
scarf, and squinted at where I thought the lens might be, since I
couldn't actually see it. I ran my fingers through my hair and hoped
for the best. Click, click; and then it was over. I donned my glasses
again as she removed the memory card, put it in the photo machine, and
pulled up the pictures so I could see them while they printed. My
student came back down the aisle shifting from one foot to the other while the clerk rummaged behind the desk for the next step in the process.
I found myself staring into the screen at a
not-very-flattering picture of middle age: colorless lips, greying
frizzed hair, dark rings under my eyes, a wan look in the fluorescent
drugstore light. It was like looking into a time machine. Only the
future was now. "Do I really look like that?" I asked the clerk,
feeling like a character in a Richard Russo novel. Maybe it was my
glasses? Not enough time for my skin to tighten up in the morning?
ignored me, going cheerfully about her business, insistent on punching
out the pictures with her special two-inch puncher, despite my assurances that I was quite capable of cutting them out myself.
last she was done making cheery small talk, and as she started to ring up my student's order, I
tucked my alter ego safely into an envelope under my arm and ducked back
out into the street. Questionable accuracy of drugstore photos aside,
I've noticed, lately, that despite my best intentions about diet and
exercise, my body is changing shape, too: softening, sporting bulges and
bumps in new places, redistributing itself. Things that I pretended
fit, once upon a time, now simply don't. Someone told me that I should
anticipate all this when I turned 40, and perhaps I did, but not really,
Because honestly, that's one leg of the
journey I don't think I'm quite ready for just yet, even if I do have a
valid passport in hand.
Mojito Chicken Salad
adapted from The Wholesome Dish . One of the places I've always wanted to go is Cuba, where my father spent many years of his life teaching. He never would have eaten this, but I can imagine him kicking back with a mojito on a humid Caribbean afternoon.
1/2 c. non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. honey
2 T. minced fresh mint leaves
1 T. lime juice
2 t. lime zest
1/2 t. salt
4 c. shredded (or chopped) cooked chicken breast (about 1 ½ lb.)
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
3 large celery stalks, diced
a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, honey,
mint, lime juice, zest, and salt. Cover and chill in the refrigerator
for 30 minutes.
Combine the chicken, red onion, and
celery in a large bowl. Toss together with mojito dressing, and serve
cold on a bed of lettuce.
Pretend you're in Cuba.