I’m always looking for the best deals to get…anywhere. But especially recently when I had a reason to go frequently to Turin (that reason is moving to Verona in a few weeks). You can fly up with one airline and down with another, or even, as I did for Thanksgiving weekend, take the train one way and fly back. Not only was that the cheapest way on that particular weekend, it meant that I did not have to worry about carrying on a bunch of liquids – my bag was full of Thanksgiving foods and various canned things and on the train, that’s okay.

Except I didn’t even think about taking my passport. You don’t need it to get on the train, and most of the time, it stays at home under lock and key, not floating around in my purse, which has twice been stolen in Europe.

I was already in Turin that first night when a wave of recognition and horror swept across my face. It was just like this, except instead of “Kevin,” I said, “MY PASSPORT!”…

And I would need it to fly home. Or did I? It’s a domestic flight. I’m not crossing any borders. I don’t need a passport, I just need identification. Or no?

But what counts as identification? I’ve got my Texas driver’s license with me, and I have the color photocopy of my passport that I always carry. Can I board a domestic flight in Italy with these documents?

A friend of Francesco’s told him that the same thing happened to his American girlfriend, and the thing to do is to go to the Carabinieri (military police, the equivalent of which does not exist in the States), and tell them what happened, and they would give me a stamp on the photocopy of my passport that stated that it was as good as the original. This guy was totally sure of this procedure and had lived through it himself, successfully.

The next day was Thanksgiving, and I was supposed to cook all day with another American girl (whom I had never met before) who lived in Turin. But I said I need to run a quick errand to the neighborhood Carabinieri station and take care of this. I asked her where her neighborhood station was. She knew EXACTLY where it was (thank goodness), because she had just been there the other day! Whew! So I got on the subway and followed her directions to the letter.

No Carabinieri station. I walked up and down. I asked about 5 people on the street (again, will someone tell me what people do here if they do not speak Italian?). Every single one of them said there was no station near there and certainly not on this street. A couple of them told me where the closest one was, and there were so many twists and turns that I could not possibly get there without writing it down.

But… the girl had been so insistent! She had JUST been there herself! I called her. I asked her if she could please look up the address on her computer and confirm it. She said she didn’t need to because she had JUST been there and it was RIGHT THERE by the subway stop. I told her that several people had said they were sure there was no station around there and she said, and I quote, “Well, those people are idiots!” I didn’t want to, like, argue, so I called Francesco at work (which I hadn’t wanted to do) and asked him to look it up for me, please.

Sure enough, it was on another street, about a half mile away, through lots of twists and turns. THANK YOU! I got to that address. The one on the official Carabinieri website. No Carabinieri station. Just a generic office building. So I ducked into a pharmacy, smoke pouring out of my ears, and asked where in the Sam Hill the freaking Carabinieri station was. Bless that pharmacist; he knew!

I had found it! Not at the address on their official website, and certainly not where my cooking partner had sent me, but I had finally found it.

I explained the situation, and they were very nice, but they said they couldn’t help me and didn’t understand why anyone would have told me (or Francesco) that they could. They suggested I simply “try” at the airport the next day and “see if they would let me on the plane.” Otherwise, they suggested, I should just take the train home.

You KNOW I was frustrated. But, I kept reminding myself, this whole shenanigan was my own stupid fault.

I got back to the Thanksgiving house and asked Francesco at work to call the airline for me. Now, very rarely do I ask him to do stuff like this for me. I’m independent, I speak Italian, and I’m an attorney for goodness sakes. But I really, really did not want to lose something in translation when it comes to things like my passport. Also, if they had said “No, she can’t fly,” then I was still barely in time to change my ticket (possible only until 24 hours before my flight).

Here is what they said: “It depends on who’s working at check-in. If it were me, I would let her on with her photocopy, but I’m not working tomorrow and I don’t know who is. Whoever checks her in gets to decide if she can board. She should probably just take the train home just to be safe.”

So, I changed my return ticket to a future weekend, went and bought a train ticket for the next day to Rome (again interrupting my cooking – I had to go to the train station in person and wait in line because the TrenItalia website was not working as usual). I paid a lot to change the plane ticket, and a FORTUNE for the return train ticket. In brief, my forgetfulness on my way to Turin cost me a lot of money and time.

No one ever forgets anything on purpose, of course, but the next time I am taking two different means of transportation within Italy I shall think about this snafu and remember my passport!!! (I hope.)

Has anything like this happened to y’all? What did you do?