I was having one of those days where nothing goes right. I mean nothing. Work was a disaster. My head was pounding. My hair wouldn’t do anything. My stomach screamed from a too-heavy Indian meal ingested mid-day. And my judgement was clearly impaired because I stupidly thought that “Hey, now would be the perfect time to get my passport photo taken!”
My passport is about to expire. It’s not like I need it for any exotic foreign travel I have lined up. I’m newly house-poor and may not make it out of the country, let alone out of the state, for ages. This distresses me even further, especially on a day like today.
Regardless, I trudge down to my local post office to deal with my passport, only to be told they don’t take photos here, but that Walgreens down the street takes them there.
Let me digress. One would think I’d have bothered to prepare for my photo shoot by swiping blush across my cheeks, curling my lashes, applying lip gloss, dealing with my hair, or wearing something that flattered my face for such an occasion. One would be wrong.
To be fair, I’m not sure anything would have worked to beat back the harsh fluorescent lights of a drugstore.
Back at Walgreens, I find the photo area where a nice lady directs me to take off my coat and reading glasses, lose my bag, and stand on the duct-taped “x” on the floor behind the counter. “Look up and smile” she chirps. “Snap” goes her digital camera.
By the way, along with my boots which were no help at all here, that coat, bag, and readers were what would have saved me from total disaster. Now they lay in a heap near a big box of batteries, staying as far out of this awful shoot as possible. Thanks a lot.
“Oh, you look so scared” the Walgreens lady says. “Let’s take another.”
And another. And another.
She swivels the monitor around so I can see for myself.
I don’t recognize the old, tired lady on the screen. “Have we met?” “Do I know you?”
The camera has never loved me. Deep features and discomfort in front of the lens is a recipe for, well, photos like this.
But it was so much more than just the bad photo — it’s seeing myself, so naked, so old.
There are all sorts of things one can do to soften the blows the years land on our face. Several friends have had great success with various needles, knives and injections.
All of that scares me to death. I know it’s a slippery slope. In the meantime, the next time I need to take any sort of photo that is going to haunt me, I’ll spend a little more time in hair and makeup.