Talk about an eye-opening experience, in a middle-aged woman kind of way.
It was time to renew my passport - not that I have a trip planned - but with just a month left to go before expiration, why procrastinate? I had been sick for a couple days but was eager to get back into the real world, so the first morning I felt up to it, I decided to jump out of bed, shower, and head off to the Camden County Store in Voorhees. I was determined to knock this chore off my ever-growing to-do list before I missed the deadline.
I was happy to see no line when I got there. "Bob" took my picture, and my eyes were closed, as usual. In a stern but friendly manner, he said, "Let's try it again - this time, keep your eyes open," as if I intentionally closed them before. I tried really hard to keep them open and look natural at the same time. He took the picture, showed it to me and said "Good, your eyes are open. OK?"
I looked at it, horrified. I said, "How about we take another one?" He said, "What's wrong with it?"
Yikes. If he didn't know by looking at it, he'd never get it.
"I don't like the way I look. I think I look terrible. Don't you?"
He said, in not so friendly a tone anymore, "Well, that IS how you look."
Someone needs to teach Bob some manners.
"Fair enough," I said.
I did not leave the County Store a happy camper.
This is the time of the Jewish New Year, a time of deep reflection and focus on being a better person, so I felt somewhat foolish to let my vanity fill my head with obsessive thoughts about my looks.
But the High Holy Days didn't stop me from feeling that way. I was too focused on the fact that I was going to have this picture for 10 years.
My daughter Allison, who accompanied me for this outing, suggested that perhaps I could trade the passport picture with another one of myself (not allowed). Then she said I don't look like that (sweet, but probably untrue). Then she said everyone looks bad in these pictures (how would she know)? Then she said how terrible she looked in her last license picture (NOT).
But then I realized that when I get my next passport picture, I'll be 10 years older, and suddenly I felt better.
Because at that time, I may not think this picture is so bad. Perhaps I will actually long to keep my newest picture, as I did this time around with my picture taken at 44.
Or, I may go back one day when I think the outcome may be a bit more pleasing and redo the picture, but that seems a bit over the top since the cost of this was $127.
But I'm not ruling it out.