Really, I'm not usually a worrier. I trust people to do what they say they'll do. I don't often get anxious. But the stakes were very large -- like missing the entire trip to Africa -- if I didn't get my passport back by Saturday noon. I needed some extra pages because, happily, there just wasn't enough space for the stamps I'm likely to accumulate on this trip. I sent it to the expediting address with the fee and the extra $14.85 for express mail return; this was Monday of last week. Yesterday I started getting nervous as I began to think of all the preparations I've made [including picking up the expensive anti-malaria pills yesterday], and that I couldn't even get on the first airplane without that passport.
I mentioned this to people at work, I mentioned it on a chat forum. And I heard stories; true stories of troubles others had had. I went on the travel.gov website and found no way to inquire, but I did find a phone number. I had tried a phone number three weeks ago when I decided I needed the pages and found no way to reach a human voice. A part of me said: it will come. They have the dates, I paid the fee, it's only pages, not some kind of info check. I'll trust and it will come. Anxiety was building but there's four days. But there were all those stories... I went to bed as usual and fell asleep okay; at 1:15 I was suddenly wide awake and anxious. It would be impossible to fall asleep again, I could tell.
I got up and went on the website again scouring every link. I found a phone number and wrote it down but had no faith I'd reach a person. I dug out xeroxes of the first page of the passport in case they might need the number. I took a couple Sominex, I went back to bed, set the clock radio for an hour of classical music. Fortunately it was something early romantic, not Glass or Alban Berg. I began counting my breaths, before the hour was up, somewhere after breath 32, I fell asleep.
This morning I called that number. After about 2 minutes of push this, push that,there was a pause on the line. Then A REAL WOMAN'S VOICE! I gave her the information. She told me it was Express mailed on the 12th, so I should have got it yesterday. I got mail yesterday but not it and no "package" note in my box. I hurried downstairs and asked and VOILA!!! There it was!!!
No, I'm not angry at the little idiots who sorted the mail, it would do no good, but I'm glad I didn't give them a Christmas tip [even if that's why they weren't conscientious]. So I had a bad night. Wasn't the first, won't be the last. Today I'm at peace. I'll continue deciding what to pack. Continue happily dreaming of what I'll be doing a week from now. How wonderful it can be to hear a human voice!!!!!
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!