…a bit of a problem


When the Irish use the word “bit” it could mean something minor or quite  large.

“Mr. Carney you have a bit of a problem”.

Aaaahhhh some of the most comforting words you want to hear as four overweight bags (extra fees paid) have been sent on the conveyor belt to the plane.

After several cancellations and re-bookings along with the appropriate fees, then an increase of ticket prices because it was days before Christmas, our $785.00 each round trip tickets were now over $2,000.00 each.

…but all was good because we were just about finished at the Aer Lingus ticket counter when the agent said “would you excuse me a second I’ve got to check something out”. The seconds turned into about 15 minutes and when he returned the problem was explained something like… one of you will be traveling this evening and it ain’t you Danny Boy.

aer lingus

My passport had expired…and now two of the bags had to be removed from the plane.  A bit of a problem but minor.

The look on Mary’s face was most comical. You fucked up and I didn’t.

A supervisor told me to go to the passport office in Boston the first thing in the morning and I might be able to straighten things out and if I did, he would get me on a flight the next night.

Back to Milton. The passport office opens at 8:30am and I was determined to be the first one there.

Mohamed (is it just me, it seems like all cab driver’s first names are Mohamed) picked me up at 7:00am and I got to the passport office in about 25 minutes.

If you haven’t been to a federal office building lately you will find the security more thorough than at the airport. At this point all I had was a carry-on bag with my computer and my fiddle. Well my carry-on bag drew quite a crowd of security personnel and was completely emptied. The object of their attention was my harmonica.  (during the course of this day I would pass through this security check three times and each time different people were on duty and yes the harmonica drew more attention)

…the idea of being the first in line…was also planned by about 55 other people. Many of them looked like my cab driver’s relatives.


I got to the counter at 9:30am and said to myself …not bad, this should be cleared up before noon. The man at the counter’s first question to me was where are your new passport pictures?   AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

Down to the information desk to ask where this might be done. The smell of booze off this woman was overwhelming but she was able to direct me to three places. One opened up at 10:00am and the other two had cameras that didn’t work.

Two hours later, after finding a CVS that had cameras that did work, I  was back at the security entrance. Out came the harmonica, then waited in line for another hour. Same guy, gave him the pictures and the appropriate paper work and was set to go.

Not so fast Danny Boy…sir your appointment will be at 3:30pm…but sir my plane is leaving at 6:30pm…Mr. Carney see all those other people in the lobby well most of them have the same problem as you…your appointment is at 3:30pm.

Appointment at 3:30pm.  What to do…what to do?  Some of the people I met that day will be for another post (Ray Bourque, Peter, the owner of the “Fours” and my old office land lord,  a young man getting married in Singapore the next day but having a “bit” of a problem, a high steel beam walker who had a liquid lunch of 5 beers and was returning to “walk the beams” the Mayor of Somerville  and several others).


I’m trying to cut this story short but the end delivers one more “bit” of a problem.

Went to my appointment after a “few” and was told my new passport “might” be ready at 4:30pm.  It was.  Off to Logan, to the side check in counter for those with a “bit” of a problem.  Got on the 6:30pm.  Landed in Dublin at 5:15am.  Went to the American custom check in and said to the American agent “Brand new passport never been stamped” and he said “congratulations..how long are you here for?”  I said “three months” and he asked “what day would you be leaving?”  “The 31st of March” I said and he followed with… “I do believe sir that you will be returning to Boston on the next flight out of here”.

This story is getting way too long and is to be continued….in the mean time HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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