I am home in Minnesota for the week and first stop Tuesday while Minneapolis awoke from the holiday weekend was the Minneapolis Passport Agency.
Be early and be prepared. My mother dropped me off on her way to work. Two retirements have not stuck with her. I was first in line at 7:25 and first in the door at 8:00. A broad smile and chitchat overcame resistance on my not having an appointment. All the passport agencies take walk-ins for urgent situations. Bring a next-day departing flight confirmation. If you do walk-in, come early. By afternoon they were turning people away.
I was there for a new second passport, which US citizens can get when demonstrating a need such as applications for multiple visas. The downside is that the second passport is limited by statute to 2-year validity. Long-rumored extension to 4 years has not materialized.
The young woman had never handled a second passport application so her supervisor coached her through it. New to me was that they based it off my prior, expired second passport, not my current primary, and they adjusted the form accordingly. If you have an old second passport, carry it when getting a new one.
I was told to be back at 2 pm and had the morning to visit my old stomping grounds from high school internships. Restaurants have changed, craft breweries have multiplied.
I headed up to the downtown Target adjacent to their headquarters and bought two $400 Visa Prepaid Cards (issued by Target Bank, $6 fee) since I figured the store would count as grocery (through this month) and needed a last FlexPerks boost up to 20,000 points for a ticket before the annual fee hits and I close the account in anticipation of summer Olympic offers.
Next the Post Office at the Foshay Tower. One of the staff I recognized from my high school courier runs. I began the prep for visa mailings to the Embassies of Guinea and Mali. Then the big moment: would the prepaid cards work for money orders? Yes!
A familiar face was in Hubert White’s new IDS Center location, totting up his sales. He used to deliver new suits for the CEO of the company in the same tower, where I once interned.
From there through the Skyways to Macy’s, once the flagship Dayton Hudson for gloves for my wife. I went up through menswear to see the legendary Percelle. That man can make you catwalk-ready just from the clearance rack.
On to the Warehouse District for early lunch at Monte Carlo, the menu unchanged in decades. I fancy liver and it is not coming off their menu.
Over to the new Central Library to browse their travel collection, vast in comparison to the New York Public Library.
2 pm approached and I collected my new passport. Oops. They gave me only 1 year instead of 2! I asked the supervisor if for the trouble he could throw in a few bonus years on the replacement or let me also keep the 1-year one. I got that bureaucrat’s smile, laugh, then deadpan no.
5 minutes later they have printed off a new passport. Everything was great.
Forward to the quiet Grain Exchange Building post office where opera was playing and lone staff was friendly. Finished off the visa packs, out they went, and over to the Government Center light rail stop to meet my father coming off work at the hospital and on the early bus back home.
Our greatest travels can be the closest to home.