Every once in a while — well, more frequently lately, due to the increased paperwork that comes with a baby and a house — someone makes me feel like a derelict for not being able to manage the myriad processes of certification that are part of moving to a new home, especially from abroad, or just keeping up one's membership in society. For example, I have been trying for nine months to complete our application for permanent residence, but at every turn I discover a new piece of documentation that we don't have, and then another piece expires while I'm getting the new one, and then they change the application from paper to online, and then our address changes and everything has to be redone from the start. I recognize that managing this kind of stuff is a skill, and that D and I both lack this skill. But even when I manage to get all the pieces aligned, through a concentrated exertion of effort, it remains Kafkaesque. The office where I processed this set of forms a year ago now tells me, as I try to renew them, that it is impossible that I processed these forms in this place a year ago, because these forms must be processed in another place. But it is not impossible! It happened! I go to the other place, where they ask me why I have filled out this form and not another form. But this is the form that was sent to me! With explicit and somewhat scary instructions to Fill Out THIS Form! Also, they do not know why I bothered to come to this location, when I could have gone to another location. But the other location sent me here, I say. No, that is impossible, they tell me. It is not impossible! It just happened! Usually, someone huffs at us for a while, then tells us to go get something faxed and come back again later.
The endless pressure of being only halfway done with these things, plus the added indignity of being constantly reprimanded for not intuiting how the system works, has been turning me and D into anxious, unpleasant people, so I'm trying to write it out so I can just be on the record with my complaint and not let it become a worm in my character.
Also, I'm writing this from the third hour, second queue, second location of trying to renew my health card, with husband and baby in tow, on a day when husband and I are both supposed to be working, and this is unquestionably the simplest bureaucratic operation on our list.
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