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.