The Calm Before the Registro Storm

15 Jun

I’m like a cockroach at the Registro Civil. No matter how many times they toss me into the street, I keep coming back, seemingly more determined than before to get my DNI national ID card. If the workers there actually cared about anything, I’d have to imagine that they hate me by now. But maybe that would be a good thing, so they would be so sick of seeing me that they would just give me what I want to get rid of me. Tomorrow I’m going back to my old hangout, the Registro Civil, on Calle Uruguay. The appointment is at 1 pm and my friend Pablo said he would come with me as a back up in case they start to play tricks again.

But this time, unlike the others, I know for a FACT that I have everything I could possibly ever need to prove my Argentinian citizenship. Apart from the things listed from the supervisor at the Registro from my turn in May, I have signed and sealed documents from the Consulate General in New York, saying on my behalf that I’m a citizen and my birth has been registered in the consulate in New York. I have translated birth certificates, copies of copies, photographs, and of course the necessary $35 peso charge. The police department has vouched that I live here, and a Hague Apostille proves that my documents have international validity. In other words, if I get rejected tomorrow, I’ll never get the DNI.

Talking with my coworkers the last few days about what I’ve had to go through for this card and the bureaucratic process in this country, they all offered hopes for luck and the standard, “that’s Argentina for you” kind of response. It’s perhaps a time of unusual nationalistic pride here. Just recently we celebrated the bicentennial of the May Revolution and now the World Cup is uniting everyone in a quest to be the best in the world. Yet we still need to go through these moments where we ask ourselves why the government is so slow on things like national ID cards, or why government employees can be so rude. It goes back to a basic ideal that I grew up with, which is that the government works for the people and not vice versa. Sometimes that seems like the opposite here.

Last Friday before leaving the office we all talked about predictions for the World Cup games over the weekend. I took some heat for the United States when I said we would win 2-0 over England (really just flapping my gums for the sake of doing so). Then before walking out the door I said good luck for them and Argentina. One of my coworkers responded, “for you too.” It felt really nice that they would now consider me one of them. And if that’s not the case tomorrow afternoon, I’ll just have to go back for the 13th time in two weeks.

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