In the computer programming world when we speak of dependencies we mean “stuff that you have to install first, after which you can install what you really need.” So you want to install the “GrappleGrommit for Perl” module, but to be able to run that, you need to first install the “GrappleGrommit Enabler” module and the “XML for GrappleGrommit” module. These are the dependencies.
Sometimes — and often in an infuriating way — you run into a situation where two things are dependent on each other. Or where the “chain of dependencies” seems infinite (“to install A you must first install B; to install B you must first install C; and so on”).
I’ve been hitting real world dependencies recently. Oliver needs a new passport (hard to believe, given that he’s only 5 years old). To get a new passport you need a birth certificate. Which Oliver has. Except he doesn’t have the right kind of birth certificate: although the kind he has — a wallet sized model — was sufficient to obtain his first passport, for some reason he now requires a “suitable for framing” model, one that lists my name and Catherine’s as his parents.
So I had to trudge in the sleet and snow this morning to the Charlottetown Vital Statistics Office where, for $42 (which included a $7.50 “rush” fee), I applied for the new-fangled super certificate. And then returned four hours later to pick it up. The woman I dealt with was extremely friendly, and it all went off without a hitch.
Fortunately, I was the only dependency for obtaining a new certificate — I just had to fill out an application form, show some photo identification, hand over the $42 and we were in.
As I type Oliver’s second try at getting the new passport is Expressposting its way to Gatineau.
Sidenote one: on the envelope used to mail in the passport application, there’s no province listed for Gatineau, suggesting that it’s some trans-provincial virtual place that’s neither in Quebec nor Ontario. Although its postal code starts with K, indicating Ontario parentage.
Sidenote two: when I applied for my U.S. passport, I had to first apply for a Social Security card. Fortunately by the time I did so, getting one was no longer dependent on registering for Selective Service (aka “the draft”), so I didn’t have to sign up for a possible tour of duty. My U.S. passport expires in 2009; I can’t imagine what sort of post-9/11 hoops it will take to get it renewed from Charlottetown. I suspect several trips to Bangor will again be required.