Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My personal saga with Argentine Bureaucracy

Ok, sorry I haven't posted in a while. Last weekend was a bit of a whirlwind for me, and I'm going to tell you why, in 3 consecutive posts.

The first reason is last Friday was extremely busy for me. Why, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

Picture yourself walking from point A (your house) past point C (your office)  to point B (the offices of an extremely bureaucratic country that make the DMV look like a vacation). Got it? Yeah, the point order doesn't make sense. Whatever. Charlie Sheen wouldn't care.

Then have the nice, annoyingly goodlooking man who works the desk and hands out ticket numbers at point B tell you that your documentation is wrong, and you need this super special notarized paper in your packet.
I say "No, we have done this 100+ times before, we never needed that. I don't think we need it. Or if we do, the information should be here in this packet" (which was notarized and certified copies).
He says "No, sorry, you need it."
After unsuccessfully trying to convince him that I had the right papers, I called my boss/friend's cell at 8 in the morning to tell her we needed something else. I start walking back to the office (point C) to go search for this magical paper.

The score: Bureaucracy: 1,  Me:0

I get the magical paper I think he is telling me I need. I walk from point C to point B (we are talking 10 blocks or so) - my old friend is at the desk. I approach.
I gingerly hand him my papers, and say, "I think I have them now. Can you check?" . He glances at my feeble attempt to produce the magical paper.
"Nay," says he.  "You shall not pass go."
Then he asks me for my passport. The thing I'm there for is for a client - not for me. I try to explain this. He goes "Ohhhhh, I thought it was for you." Me "No, my name is not (insert man's name here.)" Him: "Oh I misunderstood. But you still have the wrong document. I'm sorry."
Me: "Are you SERIOUS? So I'm missing only this one thing? You swear? That's the ONLY thing I need, everything else is okay? Because I'm walking a LOT today (and I'm fucking tired of your shit)."
Him: Yes yes I am sorry, that is all you need.
Me: I'll play your game, you rogue. I'll be back. Again.

Part of that conversation may or may not have been part of an imaginary dramatic reenactment going on in my head on the walk back to Point C.

The Score: Bureaucracy: 2, Me : 0

And so, I walk back to Point C on a mission.  Get back to Point C - people are in the office now. I get backup for what I need. I am told that what I needed (this magical paper) was IN MY PACKET THE ENTIRE TIME.  Hot annoyingly-polite douchebag just didn't look closely enough. So what do we do? We highlight the damn lines he needs to read. Then I bring reinforcements. 2 of us then parade from Point C to Point B, on a fucking mission.

My colleague is a native Spanish speaker, and ready to raise hell. I'm pretty excited. This time it's gonna be ON.

My new boyfriend is no longer at the number counter. It's now the Big Boss Man. Big Boss Man knows my colleague, barely glances at my papers, and gives me a number, no questions asked. HA - you're going down, Argentine bureaucrats.

However, just before our number is called, we realize a terrible thing. I get a pit in my stomach. I break out in a cold sweat. We didn't have the forms with us anymore - they were left in our office at point C when I went back the last time. Hijo de puta! I make a game-time decision. It's time for me to get my ass back to Point C and get those goddamn papers. I'm NOT doing this again on Monday.

The Score: Bureaucracy: 3, Me: 0

I go into my "This is what I would do if I was on the goddamn Amazing Race" mode. It's 10 blocks. I'm not a runner. I'm also in business casual attire. It's time to get a taxi.

Little did I know that all the one-way streets in this city, plus midday traffic and rabid Mendocino shoppers would turn my 10-block trip from a fairly easy endeavor into a "Sorry, you're the last team to arrive" situation.

The driver didn't even want to drive me. I had to convince him that I had to get there fast, so he had to take me. Into the cab I went. We circled 6 blocks out of the way. We stopped for bitches with strollers, several old people hobbled in front of our car, and I started wishing he would just take out a bike or two. 10 minutes later, which felt like an eternity, we arrive at Point C. I am 10 pesos poorer, and running out of time.

I run in, get the forms, and run out. Realize I look like an idiot half jogging down the street and settle on a powerwalk. I call my colleague at the offices - she says we're fine. Finally, I arrive back at point B, sweaty and panting, yet triumphant.

I brandish my magic paper. It's TOTALLY on now, bitches.  We spend approximately 3 minutes at the window. I get my stamp and ID #. It's over. It is now 12:30pm. I began this journey at 7:45am.

The final score: Bureaucracy: 3, Me: One happy gringa

And then Steve stabbed a guy!

1 comment:

  1. Dood. At what point did he pull out a giant staff and yell "YOU SHALL NOT PASS," circa Lord of the Rings?


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