OK. So I have the passport application form. I can even fill a lot of it in. But they want my parents’ details as well. I’m 50 for pity’s sake. Whyyyyyyyyy?
I don’t want my mother to know I’m applying for a passport. I don’t want to ask her for either her birth certificate (which may no longer exist) or a passport number (which I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have). She’d want to know why. And she’d push. And push. And push. Until I gave in.
I live far enough away from my mother that she’s not part of my every day life, and that’s how I like it. She takes over. It’s not that she’s a bad person, she’s not. I know, academically at least, that it’s being done out of love. But it’s my life, damn it, and I want to live it my way. Which is a bit laid back, a bit laissez-faire, a bit, well, drifting. And it drives her to do things for me. Because I know it’s meant well I still can’t bring myself to say, even at my age, “will you just stop?”. One time she came to stay I came home from work to find she’d repainted my living room. I hadn’t thought about redecorating, hadn’t planned to, didn’t particularly want to. But she’d just gone and done it. What are you going to say in that situation? The only thing you can, because she wants to do something good for you. You say “Thank you”.
She wouldn’t understand about the writing. Not so much writing per se, but what I write. She’s of a certain generation, and moreover lives in a part of the world that’s about 50 years behind the rest of the UK. I’m pretty certain she would have the belief that a lot of non-writers seem to have, that I can choose what I write. As any writer will tell you, the story chooses you, not the other way round. Because she’s a loving and supporting parent, she would want to read what I write. But she definitely doesn’t like writing about gay men and their lives. She read a book by an author who was coming to speak at their local library and it contained gay characters and, from the sound of it, a sex scene of some description. She was most disapproving. Her comment was something along the lines of “I don’t mind them all going round infecting each other, but I don’t want to know what they do with each other”. No, I didn’t challenge her. I was in her house, and I was visiting for her 70th birthday. And, frankly, I didn’t know what to say. But it was a supremely uncomfortable moment.
So. I’ve done a very sneaky thing and ordered an official copy of her birth certificate from the General Registrar’s Office. She need never know. (I feel guilty for the deception, because she and my father brought me up properly.)
On a more positive note, I’ve had an idea about someone who might be able to countersign the form. I’m going to email someone I worked with for 5 years, until just under 2 years ago, and ask if they’d be willing. They have the right kind of background, the right qualifications, they’d recognise me, they’ve known me for long enough. I hope they’ll be willing.
And it was soooo good to get that off my chest!
See you round.