Not So Fast, Foreigner!

29 Dec

Maybe the title gives it away. Things didn’t go so well at the Registro today. I could kind of tell from the moment I got there (early) before my “appointment” time at 9:30 am that things would be rough. Unlike last time, there were crowds of people sitting and standing around, waiting as an electronic board popped out numbers and names. I got my number, D54, and sat down with the others.

Aside from a quick attempt to jump the line, I waited patiently as the ticker counter achingly bled forward. D33, E2, D38, D78. D78! Wait, how did they get ahead? Finally my number was called, and I rushed over as soon as I could to window 8 before they called the next number. The large whale of a woman behind the counter was not as jolly as you might expect, and before I’d even opened my mouth she had an attitude. I explained what I was doing and she interrupted me for the ticket saying D54. “This will be good,” I thought.

As she started looking through the photocopy of my mom’s birth certificate, I could see her face turning into one of those, “I don’t have time for this” frowns. But no time? It was barely 10 am and this was her job. Unless she gets paid by the person it shouldn’t matter how long it takes. And judging by the entire process, they get paid by how few people they see. She got angry quickly when she ordered me to figure out how to spell my mom’s original maiden name (it was changed in the United States), throwing the copy back at me rather than looking herself. I read it to her and she typed something in.

Next, she told me that the number on the top was unreadable and she couldn’t give me what I needed. I told her that I was aware of that and that’s what I was here for in the first place. That I’d already been through this two weeks ago, and that’s why I came back, to get a fresh copy. But she would neither listen nor explain clearly what she wanted. Instead, she had me leave the Registro to make a photocopy of the photocopy next door.

I knew this was going no where, but sometimes when a ship is sinking you just go with the current. I came back and my place in line was obviously gone, but I cut back in and gave her the copy, saw her type something in, and then she gave me a sheet saying to come back in two weeks to pick up a new copy of the birth certificate. The EXACT thing that I was there for in the first place, after waiting two weeks. I tried again to explain this to her, but my words fell on deaf ears. If there was ever a recruitment poster for bullheaded government bureaucrats, this woman would be the campaign model.

I wanted to talk to someone else, but the line quickly developed 30 deep, and I was already late for work as it was. So with nothing else to do, I left the Registro. I did call the woman who helped me last time, and she agreed to come with me in two weeks to help me out, but it’s cutting it awfully close to the actual DNI appointment in February. Walking to work I thought about this entire process, and I almost can’t wait until I go home someday and run into an aggravating situation. I can’t wait until someone tells me, “Hey man, be patient.” And then I’ll say, “Oh, let me tell you about patience, my friend. You ever tried getting citizenship in Latin America?”


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