I've always loved passports. They grant entry into exotic places (minds out of the gutter, gentlemen), and there is something reassuringly official about them. Although today’s obsession with compulsory identification and perpetual surveillance is rather creepy, a part of me finds comfort in orderly discipline – a consequence, perhaps, of many rigorous years of ballet training.
Passports are also distinctly personal, though, at least for the avid traveler. They remind me of my sticker collection in the 5th grade. The little Hello Kitty notebook slowly became flooded by my most favoritest stickers, which I could then peruse and admire at my leisure. (Note: I am by no means suggesting that passports are as nauseatingly girly as sticker collections.)
There are fewer and fewer empty pages in my passport these days. Just yesterday, a perky young woman in glasses at the French consulate in Miami stamped one of them with a shiny new language assistant visa. It sits alongside my now four-year-old student visa. By May 2008, I will have officially lived abroad twice. I intend to find a real job and become a grown-up when I return, but my passport doesn’t expire until 2011. There are pages yet to fill, so although my intentions may be honorable, I think I had better not trust them.
Side-note: I am a little more than disturbed by the fact that I only just realized, upon writing the above, that the word “passport” is composed of the words “pass” and “port.” I thought I couldn’t possibly feel more gloriously stupid than the time I recognized the New York Yankees logo as an overlapping “N” and “Y,” but alas I underestimate myself.