Thursday, June 16, 2005


I hope you can't really imagine my double-whammy of massive chagrin, potentially leading to general ulceration, arterial meltdown and possible brain explosion, when my deadline-serving US foreign resident's tax return - also known as "The Curse of Nixon" - (to be postmarked no later than June 15 under penalty of the IRS version of Al Ghraib), mailed on the 14th 'for a little postmark elbow room,' was found in my own mailbox the next day, marked undeliverable. I had forgotten to put a stamp on the envelope. My subconscious had signed off on it as very official-looking, hence as-is deliverable. I don't recall where my conscious was at the time, if it was even in the neighborhood.

This realization was realized, in the state elaborated above, at about 6pm on the 15th itself; I therefore instantly jumped into the car with IRS envelope in teeth and drove to the far-off but last closing post office (6:30) at a speed that would get me pole position at Indianapolis, had I a passport to go there. I arrived figuratively breathless (I was driving, after all) at 6:28 and asked the remarkably angelic looking lady at the counter to please make sure that the envelope was postmarked today, June 15, which she accomplished right before my very eyes and I was happy. Until I returned home.

For home is where, in preparation for my US trip, I then began to plan the tight schedule for confirming my ticket with a copy of my passport; for using my passport to obtain my multiple re-entry permit, so that upon departure I am not erased from Japan's delicate xenomemory banks and can return with my visa intact; and for using my passport to obtain my international driver's license. I glanced at my passport and found that it had expired a year ago last April.

Thus, for nearly a year and a half I had been - and am, even as I write this - a man without a country. If I hadn't casually checked my passport and had attempted to go anywhere by plane, I'd still be circling the North Pole. Likely using the same thought processes that had put no stamp on the most legally important envelope of the year, I had thought my passport expired in 2010; but as my brother used to have frequent occasion to say, "See what happens when you think?"

So today in the big city I lunch-hour rushed to the US consulate, made it through the gauntlet of detectors, wands etc. without being called aside for lengthy questioning by men in shades and black suits and applied for a new passport with full-color Cheney, Rice and their boss smirking over my shoulder. Given my organizational powers, soon as I get my passport maybe I'll run for president.

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