The room was sterile and a bit too well lit for 8 am and registered to the senses somewhere between an operating room and the DMV. Inside, everyone wore the same mixed expression of frustration and fatigue. Once called to the window, I explained my situation and, with more disbelief and desperation in my voice than I would have liked, made an impassioned appeal to have my passport processed so I could make it to Jamaica. After some cartoon-like huddling and whispering, the staff said they could accommodate my request. Relieved, followed their instructions and paid a costly, yet altogether worth-it fee to have my passport processed same day.
With my new passport in hand, I felt a pinch of relief and with a renewed sense of hope, believed I could make it to Jamaica behind my family, albeit later than initially anticipated. I once again made my way to the airport to see if the airline could get me on another flight to make up for the one I had missed earlier. It took some time, and I had to suffer through the usual indifference and stubbornness of the check baggage staff, but eventually, a manager came through sorted things out and got me out on a flight the next day out of Dallas. I was tired, I was relieved, but most of all, after the effort I exerted, I was finally excited to go to Jamaica.