Monday, October 02, 2006

The International Language of Bullshit.

It seems bureaucracy is truly the only international language. Some may claim English the international language of commerce. I'll call bullshit the international language of government offices. Local shops in tourist towns may provide an English speaker for their clientel, and while it would be wrong to say these interpreters are well-versed in the English, questions are answered, items are purchased, and customers are made, albiet slowly. Walk into a government office, and well, things go from "slow" to "glacial," regardless of language.

The town of Cruzy.

Today, at the Prefecture (city-county building), my “understanding” of bureaucracy was reinforced with titan strength. After traveling 30 minutes to apply for my paperwork to work legally in france, I arrived at 9AM and was told I was too late for today, and that it was necessary to return another day. Tomorrow was of course out of the question. The office would be closed. I must return Wednesday morning before 8:30 in order to get my ticket and wait, wait, wait.

A chateau in the distance.

After learning this information, I decided I’d ask about obtaining my international driver’s license – after all, the office was in the same building. I waited in line for about 10 minutes watching the man in front of me become so frustrated that he stormed out. At that point, I almost felt at ease knowing that bureaucracy is spoken everywhere, and what's more, I understood it loud and clear.

Charles operating the harvester.

My short conversation with the woman behind the glass window ended with my understanding that I must first obtain my carte de sejour – the document I was denied the ability to apply for only 15 minutes earlier. Until that time, I guess my Colorado driver’s license will work – after all, I have nothing to drive and no where to go. I suppose Wednesday I’ll return to Beziers, wait on line, and possibly, with a lot of patience and a lot of luck, convey my intention to apply for a work permit. If things go well, I may even give that driver's license another run.

Finally, instead of ending this post with nothing positive, I've attached a few completely unrelated pictures.

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