Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bureaucratic Beauty

7am and I am so SO not in the mood for work.

"It is a rare occasion when a president can sign a bill he knows will save American lives. I have that privilege this morning," Bush said at a White House signing ceremony, flanked by top US military and intelligence officials. "The bill I sign today helps secure this country, and it sends a clear message: This nation is patient and decent and fair, and we will never back down from the threats to our freedom."
I’m not even going to start.

Moving swiftly on, yesterday I get the passport/visa process on the roll. I’ve been dreading the visit to the home affairs office, so when I overheard a colleague talking about her passport renewal that needed to be collected I offered her a lift for my trip… misery loves company.

This turned out to be a very good plan, as without her my home affairs experience could’ve been very different. I always need organisation. I try, I do… but as we were leaving the office she mentioned that I need my ID book. What? Oh crap. Okay, so we’re going past my home to pick that up. And then she mentioned money. Oh crap - need that too! She rolled her eyes and patiently escorted me to the ATM.

We arrived at Randburg Home Affairs and I braced myself. But, despite my best efforts, my passport renewal was nothing but efficiency. (Touch wood… I haven’t got the new one back yet). Within half an hour, I had taken new passport pics, got the correct documentation, been helped at information, sat in the right and fast moving queue (I hate queuing in Africa where people have no need for personal space), and was ready to go home.

In fact, the thing that took the longest, was waiting to do my thumb print – because the guy was helping another citizen with their passport renewal. People were friendly and helpful – and this was at lunchtime on a random Tuesday, not first thing on a Friday morning or pay day.

I think the thing that struck me the most was the row of trailer/caravan services provided outside the Home Affairs proper. Last time I was there, it consisted of one caravan for passport pics. Now there must be at least a dozen offering anything from food and drinks to help with ‘emergency’ passports; pics; photocopying; and even an agency or two that will ‘Q 4 U’ – at a price of course.

I would describe it as painless, and I never thought I’d say that.

Then, last night, Boyfriend and I went out for dinner with Boyfriend’s dad. I like to scrub up pretty every now and again so I donned one of my favourite skirts for the occasion, to be informed by Boyfriend that there was, um, a hole right on my bum.

Oops. Further examination revealed there was another hole, and another… and another one there… This skirt is literally falling apart at the seams and I’ve never noticed. Wonder how long it’s been like that? It’s a favourite so I wear it quite a lot. How many work colleagues have I inadvertently flashed?

It wouldn’t be the first time either… I once managed to buy a pair of dud jeans with badly stitched pockets. A co-worker took great delight in pointing out (as I tripped up a flight of stairs and saw my arse, so to speak) that my pocket was tearing away from the jean-pant and he could, in every sense of the literal phrase, see my ass.

ps. The sunrise was beautiful this morning. Just thought I'd share.

3 comments:

kop said...

That news article is very scary.

The passport line always goes fast, because it's only the middle to uppper class that can afford them or need them and not the masses below the poverty line. But it's still nice when the government system works!

Koekie said...

Disagree - it's middle class who sits in the queues. Upper class pay other people to sit in the queues and lower class simply just go through the Kruger national park borders...

ps. If anyone's interested here's the link to determine if you're illegally married or not: http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/status/marital_status.asp

I'm too lazy to code a hyperlink, so you'll have to cut and paste. Jammer.

kop said...

Damnit, I'm still single! When am I going to get hitched?