Bureaucracy – Ours and Theirs

Had a few errands to run today, to a couple of my least favorite places. First was the American embassy, to renew the kids’ passports. For one thing, there is always a photo of the current American president prominently displayed. For another, they are jerks about the security, can’t even take a mobile phone in. Then, once you are in, you are a fly in the spiderweb of bureaucracy, and the person behind the desk has all the power. I noticed a plaque on the side of the building stating that Franz Kafka had once lived there. How appropriate, I thought.
It wasn’t too bad, though. A 5 minute wait, we handed over documents, they sent us to a separate window to pay, another five minute wait, signed a few papers, raised our right hands and swore the information was all correct (seriously, we had to swear. WTF is that all about?) and we were done and out. I didn’t realize it until about 10 minutes ago, but there was no photo of Trump on the wall. My guess is they have a photo of Hillary in the basement, that was supposed to go up, but whoops.
The 2nd stop was just with Isabel, Sam headed off to school and Helena to work, and we went to the Post Office, the one in Prague 5 where the customs are. Fortunately, it was not a busy day, because that can be a serious time suck. You start at one counter, they send you to another, in a different room, where I had to pay 285 crowns, but visit two different clerks, one of them twice, and then back to the first counter, where they stamped a couple of things, made me pay an additional 99 crowns, and then sent me to actually pick up the package. They did not speak English and were not very friendly.
The package was Christmas and Birthday presents for Sam and Isabel from my sister Rebecca, and one of Isabel’s gifts was a DVD of Wall-E, which I’d never seen either, so we came home and watched that. What a trippy little film. I felt that, since the intended audience was obviously children, they were giving their intended audience a lot of credit for intelligence. It wasn’t until halfway through the film that human beings occurred, or more than a couple of words were uttered.
So, not such a bad day in the end. I’ll remember Wall-E longer than the hassle at the post office, and I’m glad we’ve got the passports done as well.

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