Rain soaked, impossible to smile, I knew that without humor it would be difficult to survive the journey ahead. "Its a premonition of tougher days to come" I said to myself rushing breathless, hunched to the pelting bullets of rain. I traversed the girth of Manhattan island becoming weather's victim, helpless to the elements. "This is an omen, a lesson in patience", the voice said over my shoulder, I turned but no one was there. Of course, taxis are predictable in a New York downpour; you can't find one. Especially with my passport locked in an aide's desk drawer waiting for me to lay claim. Finally , I squeaked passed the Turkish Consulate's guard and handed my soggy recipt through the yellowed Lucite window, elated that I made it in time. Scanning the visa, delirious from hyperventilating I dropped the passport into the prepaid enveloped postmarked for Syrian Consulate in Michigan and reentered the drab city streets for the long dash to the post office with only minutes to spare.