If your reading this missive, you must be one of the few people left on the planet who has not yet heard this story.
Deb and I were both coming off very hectic work schedules. I just scored very nice tickets using a sweet online service called YAPTA. Earlier in the year we had sent Michael to Greece for two weeks with his high school. We had to get him a brand spanking new passport and off he went. Two days before we left in October, I went to the bank to drop his new passport into our safe deposit box, and took ours out.
We packed our alpine hiking stuff, and on a very dreary rainy October afternoon, drove out to Logan Airport. I dropped Deb off at the International terminal with our luggage while I dropped the car off at long term parking.
As she is getting out of the car, she says to me "be quick - I have to pee."
So off I go only to find long term parking but it is not where it used to be. It's gone. Under construction. Just a guy in a small booth. He tells me to follow the little orange arrows to the temporary lot. Ok, off I go and lost I get. Eventually I find my way back to the small booth and start all over again. The second time I am successful. I find the temporary lot. I have to pay cash upfront. Something about the whole deal sounds a little shady. The guy there is wearing an official looking uniform. I have a flight to catch, other cars are in line, I buy into it. I Park the car. I see the shuttle bus. I start to jog for it. Then I hear that old familiar, gears grinding and hissing, bus pulling away noise. So I start to run. I am not Jesse Owens. it's too late it's gone.
Since this is a temporary lot there is no bus shelter. I am now standing in a light rain. Waiting. Thinking about Deb's bladder and waiting. Waiting 5 minutes. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. Second shuttle bus finally shows up. I am a tad moist. The shuttle bus then proceeds to drive around the entire airport stopping at every conceivable stop. I think I could have walked to the International Terminal quicker. The trip felt like forever. The whole time I am thinking about Deb's bladder and also knowing that I'm likely in trouble, wish I had my cell phone. In reality it may have been like 10 - 15 minutes. I run into the terminal and see my cross-legged wife. Who immediately says where have you been? I say I will explain later - just go to the bathroom - she does.
When she comes back we drag our luggage over to the Lufthansa ticket counter to check in. All the while I am regaling Deb with my sad parking tale. She tells me she thought I was dead. I say thanks for the faith.
We get up to the Lufthansa ticket counter put down our tickets and passports. The Lufthansa woman behind the counter looks at our tickets, then Deb's passport; which is still in her maiden name while her ticket is in her married name. The Lufthansa woman begins a series of questions regarding this which Deb is handling most gracefully. Meanwhile I am thinking to myself we should get Deb a new passport. This was an issue when we went to Mexico; this was an issue when we went to Canada. We really should get this fix before it becomes a problem for us. But tragedy narrowly averted - Deb handles the situation - seems everything is OK. The Lufthansa woman then picks up my passport.
She looks at me and says "Sir is this your only passport?"
I say pardon? She repeats the question. I look at her and said I'm not going anywhere today am I?
Seems my passport had expired back in April and there isn't a government agency to let you know about that sort of thing.
Deb is standing there slightly stunned with her jaw down around her knee caps.
For a few minutes we throw ourselves on the mercy of the courts but that goes absolutely no where.
We drag our luggage away from the Lufthansa ticket counter like the complete losers we are and to regroup and lick our wounds.
I look at her and say well - where do you want to go? Deb looks at me and says what?
I say -- we are here at the airport, we are packed, the car is in long term parking - which I prepaid cash for - where do you want to go?
She says we can't go anywhere, your passport isn't valid.
I say we can't go international - which means we need to leave this terminal, but we can go anywhere in the United States. We have two weeks of vacation booked. - I am not going back home - so where do you want to go?
She is still basically shocked - so I say the only place I know where we could probably get a last minute cheap flight and easily find hotel rooms without any problems is Las Vegas - want to so there? You never have been there.
She says well I have never been there but it's not a place I have ever wanted to go either. Right I says, but from Vegas it's just a hop skip and jump to the Grand Canyon and neither one of us have been there - so let's go there. She says well ok.
So we find a restaurant and sit down - right there in the airport - pull out her laptop and booked a flight and hotel for Vegas - then off we went.
Once in Vegas - we booked stuff for the Grand Canyon, (and cancelled the Germany stuff).
When we got home and people asked us about the trip to Germany - well it didn't take long before this story become legendary. Neighbors, workmates, complete strangers seem to have heard this story. It seem to take on a life of it's own. Go to a party and people would say, oh I have heard this story. It's been amazing.
So this year when we decided to go again, needless to say - to this day we continue to hear a lot of passport related jokes.