I had my appointment at the miraculously close passport agency in Aurora, Colorado, this afternoon. I made my appointment through the national automated system for noon. I was instructed by a recorded voice on what all I needed to bring. I was also informed not to arrive more than fifteen minutes early, that I would NOT be let in early. It also informed not to arrive more than fifteen minutes late, or I would not be let in AT ALL.
It snowed last night (I was getting sunburned in an 80 degree day just a few days ago!), so I gave myself plenty of time to get to the agency in case the roads or weather were bad to the north. Besides, I wanted to find the place and then go to grab something to eat for a very late breakfast. But there was nothing near the building where the agency was located, and by now I had to go to the bathroom. So, while it was still 40 minutes until my appointment time, I decided to go in and use the restroom. There were no public restrooms in the building's entryway, so I had to go upstairs. I stepped off the elevator, again no bathrooms. I walked up to the passport agency doors and peeked through. A security agent opened the door for me. I told him I was early for my appointment, and he said "that's okay, we can take care of you early", and he ushered me into the security area where he and two other security agents were posted. I glanced behind them into a large room filled with rows upon rows of chairs across from a bank of about fifteen "windows".
Counting the three security agents, the passport agent, and myself, there was a total of five people in the room. After my security screening (just like the airport only I got to keep my shoes on), I was directed to window three, where Craig had me squared away in about five minutes flat. Including going to the bathroom on my way out and including the walk to the car and including the drive to the freeway, I was done five minutes before my scheduled appointment time.
Craig told me that the agency was new. It opened in September. The first new passport agency in ten years. And apparently America's best kept secret. I couldn't believe I was in a government service office! Don't tell the government this place exists…I'm sure they'll ruin it!