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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Passport Misplaced?"

My husband is an adult. He was an adult before I was born. Then, (I am told), as now, he could not be relied upon to pay attention to important details like where he puts his passports. The plural is deliberate. We are currently re-ordering French and U.S. passports for him!
This is not the first time. A year or two ago, before we attained our citizenship, we had precious documents called green-cards. Not green, these drivers-licence sized laminated "resident alien" cards permitted us to travel to Europe and back. They must be shown to airlines at check-in to prove that we would be granted entry upon arrival in the U.S. No green-cardee, no takee offee!
Mr. Jet-Set arrived at Charles de Gaule airport and entered the line to check in at Air France for the long flight home to San Francisco. An employee verified his ticket, passport and green-card and he took his place with the other shuffling economy travelers, inching towards their destination.
75ft of zig-zagging between the barriers and it was his turn to heave his suitcase onto the scale and plop down his travel documents one more time. "Et votre carte verte, Monsieur?" "And your Green Card, Sir?" "I just gave it to you", he replies. "But I don't see it, Monsieur".
There was much searching. The poor check-in agent truly began to believe it must be her fault. (She doesn't know what I know). Men with tools were called to dismantle the scale and moving belt that takes luggage away. A long lost Mont-Blanc pen was retrieved but no green-card. The agent tried not to be too happy about her good luck in the face of this inconvenienced traveler.
Mr. Jet-Set is faced with a return into the center of Paris to the U.S. Embassy on a Friday before a three day weekend. He retrieves his rental car, so recently returned, and sets off towards the City. He is the only person I know who chooses to drive to get around Paris.
He gets there before noon and takes a number and a seat to await his turn to be helped. Time ticks by and he makes the only decision possible: time for lunch! He exits the Embassy and goes off to find a restaurant. Returning replete and with a small espresso jolt to keep him awake he again sits down to wait.
There are help-windows for mere mortals and there are windows for consular officials. By 4pm he has his eye on a graciously attractive young Mademoiselle at the consular level. He pleads his case, dredging up a charming persona I have not encountered in decades. She takes pity and hurries through the forms for an emergency entry document. At 4:45 she is done. All that remains is to pay a small ransom and he will have a happy ending. But wait...the sole cashier has left early.
Thank goodness for cell phones and the fact that they really wanted to get rid of my husband that day, without the possibility that he would return the next week. The cashier was already on the ring-road headed off for R & R. It takes a while for him to reroute and return. Everyone has left and all is quiet. There remains my Jet-Setting Liability, the Consular-Section charmer and a Marine guard at the door.
Finally all is in order and as my husband leaves the Marine practically genuflects. After all, this man must be someone truly important to have created such drama.
Hubby made it home to me the next day. A day late and several dollars short. 
Forward in time to the present. Today we had to visit our local Police Station to file a missing passport report, without which the French Consulate will not provide a replacement. Neither the U.S. nor French passports have surfaced since hubby's latest overseas foray. He had them when he came through customs, then "poof!" For the last few months we have been somewhat comforted by the fact that both passports must be together somewhere. I am sure they are, but where? Home and office, car and suitcases have been thoroughly searched. We now know to check inside the shoes at the bottom of his closet. A cell phone once hid there until long after we acquired a replacement.
At the Police Department this afternoon there was a Crime Reported: Passport Misplaced.


  1. Im sorry the passports were lost, but that is so funny!

  2. Thanks Di, I guess if I couldn't see some humour in it I would have gone screaming for the hills long ago. I do try to make my travel arrangements via a separate airline and country than my husband. It is more harmonious that way.

  3. With role models like him, I often wonder why I persist in being such an anal-retentive, maniacal, neat freak, who became a French citizen 10 years before I ever thought I'd set foot there. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    You know that saying that asserts that God protects drunks and little children? I would like to append "The French Artist" to the list. That guy has sooooo used up his quota of good luck and nine lives!

    Congratulations on having survived the latest trip to the authorities to report the misplacement...

  4. Bonjour Fr'amie,
    Glad you're back. Life could be so tame, but it's not.See y'a soon.

  5. I would think you would have to have a sense of humor to live with your hubby. Although it would not be at all funny to lose him in the netherworld of, "Those without papers." I know of someone who got trapped between the US/Canada border for months due to passport issues. Not pretty.

    Smart of you to travel separately. At least someone will be home. *sigh*

  6. Hi Jean,
    I'm not sure he would mind being "trapped" in no-man's-land, as long as they serve French food and wine. It would at least give me a break from his madding ways!

  7. Sorry to laugh, but I am thrilled beyond words to know that it's not just my husband and his "organizational challenges."

  8. It has oft been suggested that the mysteries of Lord Lucan and the Marie Celeste could easily be solved if we just assumed that they had been "put somewhere safe, so we'd know where they were" by a well meaning but forgetful person - or just tried looking for them down the back of the sofa where the Small Coin and Pocket Lint Gnomes live

    Thanks for visiting my blog - i knew as soon as i saw the name of yours that i would like it!

    PS: the singing potatoes is a quote from UK Sci-Fi Comedy Red Dwarf - the computer is talking about the loneliness of space and says that the only thing that keeps him sane is his collection of singing potatoes!

  9. Hello Pixie,
    Thanks for your visit and comment. Snap on the name-response, must be an English thing. We should all have singing potatoes to keep us sane. Mine have obviously abandoned me.

    Hi Magpie,(of great renown)
    Oh yeah, a laugh a minute, that's us! In truth it means that we are never short of funny stories to tell at dinner parties.

  10. Oh my! You and your husband are so calm... I would have panicked if I had lost my passport in another country!

  11. Hi Shattered,
    One of my rules is not to get worked up about a problem until, and unless, it is proven to be a problem. Too much energy expended for nothing. Denial is one of my best life-tools.

  12. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.