Saturday, March 10, 2007

Where Good Sense, Efficiency, and Class Ends

I almost lost it. "It" is whatever keeps you sane, rational and pleasant. "It" is what the Belgian Communes does not have and that I almost lost when I had to yet again deal with them.

Finally, we are in the last of the formalities to obtain our Belgian identity card. Our first appointment, scheduled by a pleasant but inebriated policeman, had to be rescheduled because of my January return trip to Montreal. We show up at the appointed time - 18h30 - only to be met by an uptight wench. "Your appointment was for 17h30" she snottily informs us. "We will have to reschedule" she adds. Hubby protests. I'm already hot under the collar. She leaves us to check something; comes back and says she has time to only process Hubby's papers. Her magnanimity is overwhelming. I will have to return to this hotbed for tuberculosis with Charlotte. I am fuming.

We are seated at her cluttered desk. Hubby glances at her agenda. We are scheduled for 18h30. However, her last 3 appointments never showed up and she took it upon herself to change our appointment...without letting us know. Think outside the box, they say!

We hand over our documents. "These are not conform. They must be apostalized (sic) twice. Please refer to the annexe D." she sniffs. I had. There was no mention of this detail on the photocopy of a badly typed looseleaf bearing no official mark which is the annexe D. This is all gross improvisation. Sensing that I am about to unleash an ill-timed however highly satisfying profanity-filled diatribe, Hubby intervenes. He needs his identity card to get car insurance but how necessary is it for the kids and I to have one, he asks. She answers that the identity card is essential if we wish to have Belgian medical and social insurance. Well, the kids and I don't. Our business at the Communes is done. In 6 months I will return home. And, until then, I am perfectly content to be a visiting legal (perhaps slightly clandestine) alien.

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