Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The GREAT Bureaucrosphere

Today we went to the Patronato INAC which sounds funner than it is. How to explain it to non-immigrant peoples of the world. . . Well, it is the free lawyer joint for immigrants. We go there to see this lovely man named Artan. I adore  him and his little curvy ears. He does stuff to help people (that is us) get out of jams. For free.

Anyway, I always sweat when I have to see Artan and not just today when it is legitimately 38/100 degrees on a Monday in July. There is always one more step you didn't know about. Or six. Today for example we learned that we have to have a blueprint of our rental house to show at this office I've never been to in order to get this document I've never heard of so that we can stay here. He told me that he told F, but he is not sure that F understands that much Italian.

This is the perfect segue for telling you that we went to INAC because we have to take a required Italian exam to be allowed to stay in the country and F may or may not pass it. He is joyfully not studying for it at all and continues to unapologetically make first day of Italian class mistakes mixed with sophisticated idioms that he pulls out of nowhere. F goes in and out of a  waspy Los Angeles type Italian accent and I occasionally get very Queens on everyone. We're a hot mess. Anyway this week's conundrum is that they never gave us the obligatory date for the exam and the odds are that it will happen while we are in Amsterdam. Today we found out that only a doctor's note gets you out of the assigned date for the exam. This did not stop Artan from making photocopies of our tickets. Italians love a good argument. At some point I imagine that he will have to say to some colleague somewhere: c'mon we can't not let the Americans go on vacation for three months while they await a hypothetical exam. He will say it skillfully and in a way that will go much farther than I could make it sail even if I wrote a thesis on it and bribed everyone with croissants and hot butter.

I convinced F to let me call his little girl student's mother who works at the prefettura which is the boss of this test and pretend like I didn't know she was probably on vacation to ask her if she could make a call for us. Or as we used to say in Queens "a cawl." I'm a NY borough triple threat, in case you were wondering, having been forced to play in traffic everywhere but Staten Island and having done not much time in my parents' and Jenny from the Block's old stomping grounds in the Bronx. She said she would be happy to. That is another nice thing about being here for five years. We have numbers in our telefoninos. We are hooked up.

The good news is this. I no longer live in fear of the paperwork going through. What's the worst that could happen? They'll send me back to New York? While we were sitting in the waiting room, I made F laugh by gesturing with my hands in the rudest and most male way possible behind the information desk lady's back and mouthing the words, "Eat Me."

You can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but you know.

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