I visited a photo booth to get my dreaded passport renewal pictures taken.
Years ago, you had to adjust the swirly chair several times and try to ignore the conversations of irritable people waiting outside or young children playing with the flimsy privacy curtain and pray you’d done everything right before waiting for an eternity outside the booth for the pictures to develop and then crazily wave them around your face to dry.
Nowadays, aside from still adjusting the chair, most of the stress is removed as photo booths helpfully instruct you what to do.
Firstly, it reminds you to remove your hat and sunglasses – even though that’s what you’ll be wearing at the airport – probably because everyone looks the same under a sombrero.
Bizarrely, you’re told to remove your regular glasses which could be problematic if you can’t see where to insert your money or worse, where the camera is.
The advice about combing your fringe backwards so as not to obscure your face hasn’t really applied to me or Bruce Willis since 1995.
It tells you to have your eyes open, mouth closed – presumably, because you’d look like your sleeping grandpa the other way around – look straight ahead and not smile.
You then position your head inside an egg shape on the front screen, which weirdly doesn’t allow for your ears and confirm you’re as ready as you can be.
After a helpful backward countdown from 5 to 1, the machine takes your photo. It then shows you the photo and asks if you like it or do you want it to “have another go”? Because it still needs some emotional reassurance that it’s good at its job.
I asked for another go, thus hurting its feelings and, after realising I now looked thoroughly miserable in both sets of photos, reluctantly decided to press print.
Luckily, the post office cashier helpfully confirmed that I did indeed, resemble the depressed guy in the photographs I had taken two minutes earlier before, predictably, falling under the counter, laughing.