The Passport Analogy


You will forgive me for being influenced in my writing by The Big Bang Theory, my current favorite show, in this and several posts around this time. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I have an obsessive personality when it comes to TV shows (okay some friends would say, in everything). I can only absorb one show at a time, but how! I used to like Nodame, then I moved to The West Wing. Current obsession is TBBT (Congratulations, Jim Parsons, on your much-deserved Emmy!). TBBT! That sounds like I stuck out my tongue at all of ya.

Oh but enough babbling. The real point of my blog tonight is my recent discovery, hence the TBBT-inspired title of this post.

A couple of weeks ago, I could not locate my passport (again?! said my dear, dear friends). I refuse to say I “lost” it because I knew where I used it and put it last. It just was not in the Designated Drawer when I went looking for it. Mama wanted me to join her and Papa in their US visa application renewal, so I had to dig through my desk to find it.

On the second day of the Missing Passport, I started to panic. Maybe I left it in the airport during our last trip to Singapore. Maybe it fell off my hands while I was maneuvering my cellphone, carry-on, and trolley at the airport lobby. Maybe our cleaning lady hid it somewhere, not knowing how important it was. She had a tendency to do that. Once, I found my external hard drive’s case inside an old pencil case. Another time, she placed my Dolce and Gabanna Light Blue perfume bottle inside my Elizabeth Arden Green Tea’s box. Anything was possible to one who was panicking.

Mama pitched in. She helped me look behind my books, under my bed, and inside my drawers. I took out my broom and actually swept my bedroom floor, to Mama’s delight. The elusive passport was nowhere in sight.

I racked my brain, trying to remember exactly when I saw it last and where I could possibly have placed it. I wondered if the guys who installed  my new hand-me-down bed frame accidentally chose my most important ID to balance a wobbling stand somewhere.

Through it all, Mama kept on insisting that I look underneath the sliding stool that had a built-in nook into my study table. I told her I doubted it would be there. The truth was that I just found it too difficult to slide the stool after my new second-hand bed frame turned out to be considerably bigger, thus blocking the stool’s passageway. In order to check the area in question, I would have had to move the contents of my entire room. Hence, my refusal to believe that my passport would go there.

I told Mama I could not make it to the deadline for the Visa Reissuance Program, and proceeded to help her and Papa submit their online application. I was frustrated, certainly, but did not want to hold them back. I also took it as a “sign” that I was not meant to renew my US visa.

This all happened while we had some medical situations in the family that were causing me to lose my hair and my sleep. I was resigned to the fact that my one-year old passport was gone, and I could not travel until I got a new one. That made me want to cry. My friends were booking trips left and right. My family was coming up with travel plans for next year. And I was stuck, which was good for my bank account, but sad for my bucket list.

Finally, after my parents’ photos had been approved by the US website and we had finalized their visa applications, I went to my room and decided to check that place where I knew my passport should not be. I used a flashlight and beamed it under the stubborn chair.

It was there.

I saw the shiny gold letters on the cover of my electronic passport. I could not believe it. It was exactly where I doubted it would be!

I went to get a broom or a mop handle, and to tell Mama the news. She could have said “I told you so,” but she simply smiled and expressed her relief that her remaining single daughter could once again roam the world freely.

Armed with a long mop handle, I attempted to move the wheel of the stool that was blocking the passport. I started to sweat because the passport again disappeared. I must have pushed it farther instead of moving it closer. I had to drag my dresser table, bed, desk, and stool, but not completely, as it required more strength on my part to do that. Enough space was freed so I could poke around with my mop stick and retrieve my now crumpled passport. I kissed it, dirt and all.

Yes, it was there all along.

Yes, my mother was right.

Yes, I was blinded by the perceived blocks created by the new room setup I was faced with.

Yes, I could have spared myself two weeks of frantic searching if only I had looked at the little notebook’s hiding place immediately.

I should have, really. For it was directly underneath the Designated Drawer, which almost always got stuck with too much stuff that papers, envelopes, and other things had previously slid from the top of the drawer to that dark, dusty, place. So in a way, there was much circumstantial evidence to make that place suspect.

Perhaps in looking for something, I should not let obstacles hinder me from finding it.

Perhaps I should listen more to my mother.

Perhaps more things are waiting to be found that way.

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