Ever have one of those days? You know the ones: the kind that starts well enough, but by mid-afternoon has you asking yourself why you ever got out of bed? Well, I hadn’t had one of those days in a while. Until yesterday.
To make a long story short, I’m in the process of applying for an enhanced passport; the kind that offers you quick entry into both Canada and the United States, via a self-serve kiosk with an iris scanner.
Unfortunately, this process, which had until yesterday ticked along quite smoothly, came to a sudden and immediate stop. Why? Because I learned yesterday morning my passport — the one I’ve used to criss-cross the bloody globe — is invalid. It doesn’t contain my full legal name, just the name I’ve used since birth, which so happens to be my middle name.
And so, after being lectured, politely, about my fraudulent passport by the border sercurity officers at the Winnipeg airport, I made my way to the Passport Office, conveniently located downtown, miles from the place where you’d most often actually use a passport, to get a new passport with my full legal name. Simple enough.
In order to get a new passport, I’d need to show them two pieces of government ID with my full legal name. Problem is, the only legal document I posses with my full name is my birth certificate. Literally every other document I possess simply lists me by my middle name. And so, the kind lady at the Passport Office suggested I get my driver’s license changed. Only then, she told me, could I change my passport since I’d then have two pieces of ID attesting to my actual identity.
Which, may I remind you, has not changed. I’m still the same person. I’m not even trying to change my name. Nope. My name has not changed one bit. All I want to do is add my first name, which has always been the same, to my second name, which I’ve always used, which would together appear before my surname, which has most certainly been the same since birth, according to me, my parents and various branches and levels of the Canadian government.
But, as I quickly remembered, bureaucracies are expressly designed to thwart common-sense people from applying common-sense solutions to simple problems.
And so it was off to yet another office — at a different level of government no less! — only to be told I couldn’t change my driver’s licence because that would require them to dial into Manitoba Public Insurance’s central computer system, which, quelle surprise, was down and had been down for four days. Better still, they had no idea when it would again be operational.
And so, I left. Miserable. Tired. In an apparent legal grey zone, as far as the folks at Customs and Immigration are concerned.
Oh, and on my way home, some asshole backed into my car.