Our living in an age of virtual offices, FaceTime, and scan imaging seems to have unleashed an increased capacity for original documents, from birth certificates to tax forms to baby pictures…
“Prove to us that you were born ___________________.”
We demand that people substantiate who they represent themselves as being. For the record, my being born in Philadelphia makes me an American citizen.
What’s that?! Yes. It is true: Philadelphia is in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
My, how suspicious we’ve become of one another! It’s enough to drive a person to drink — tea.
Nevertheless, Philadelphia remains this nation’s birthplace unless the history books have been rewritten to relocate the Continental Congress and to eliminate the Declaration of Independence‘s signing.
Speaking of tea, this is an excellent place to make a pot, pour a cup, and reflect on certain unalienable rights such as Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. (Yes, the Declaration of Independence preceded the movie).
Documents To Have and To Hold
These are my three (3) favorite documents of which I highly recommend that as many as can do obtain them. I’m not so naive as to think it will be easy; however, each piece is worth the effort made to secure it. They are:
Even if international travel is not on your short-term to-do list, get and keep your passport current. This way you’ll be prepared to fly to Paris for afternoon tea at a moment’s notice.
Our United States Department of State issues visas and passports. To learn about passport guidelines, the State Department website travel.state.gov.
Recently I discovered the Central Brooklyn Public Library installed a Passport Service Center.
New passport applicants can go in-person and take their completed forms to Grand Army Plaza for processing. Additionally, the United States Postal Service increased the passport servicing hours of operation.
It makes no sense for others to value the benefits of United States citizenship more than those born here.
Don’t let vanity (read: a small photo) keep international travel out of reach.
A DRIVER’S LICENSE
A driver’s license is more than an acceptable form of photo identification used for getting through airport security. It acknowledges that you have a legal right to drive a motor vehicle. As a result, this means that you have more available options than deciphering public transportation schedules.
(Of course, illegal driving happens and everyone who has a driver’s license doesn’t drive well. That’s another post altogether.)
In fact, some driver’s licenses are “enhanced” so they allow travel between the United States and Canada without a passport, e.g. New York City to Montreal via train for tea at Camellia Sinensis Teahouse.
A library card is a beautiful thing. For those of us who love to read, to write and to collect books a library represents a veritable vacation resort. As long as the library’s materials return on time, then it is a very economical method for improving our minds.
There is a library card for every residential and business address. Once obtained, then this one card opens access to various branches and their collection. Library collections include:
- Electronic (audiobooks, eBooks, etc.)
Librarians are usually willing to help you locate other materials even if it requires an inter`library loan. In addition, many libraries have smartphone applications to make borrowing easier.
It all starts with an address. Needless to say, there is a (future) library card with your name on it.
Whether you choose to travel to foreign lands or curl up with a book, please don’t forget to include tea.