Somewhere Out There, Is A Child Who Won’t Get To Travel

, , , | Working | October 27, 2020

I am dealing with the local administration in a country that still believes bureaucracy exists to make everyone’s life miserable and that if you haven’t spent weeks gathering paperwork you shouldn’t be allowed to get anything done.  

I am moving, and have to register my address. This means going to the local municipal police, with my new condo contract, my old ID, my birth certificate (for some reason), and I a bunch of papers proving I paid about six different types of fees.

Only one counter out of five is open, and they seem to be handling everything: address changes, driver’s licenses, passport requests. I wait in line and finally get to pass this whole bundle of papers to the lady behind.

She takes them all, staples some, then tells me to sit down and wait… for something. About twenty minutes later, a uniformed policeman opens the door of an office and yells my name. I walk in, he sits down and starts with:

Policeman: “Where’s the child?”

Me: “Huh? I don’t have a child.”

Policeman: “No, I mean, your child.”

At this point, we’re both looking at each other as he notices I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Policeman: “Why don’t you people read the requirements. You can’t travel with a child if the other parents don’t sign the consent form! Why are you here without the consent form?”

Me: “To change my address?”

At this point, I’m starting to doubt my purpose there.

Policeman: “What address? Does the child not live with you?”

Me: “Ugh… no, I don’t have a child, all I want is to register my new address. No children live with me. I don’t have a child. I’m not married.”

Policeman: “But… why did you come into my office? I do parental consent for travel of minors.”

Me: “I don’t know, you called my name.”

He looks at papers, my ID is there.

Policeman: “I see… it is a change of address. Okay, I can do that. Have a seat…”

I’m sitting there while he types something.

Policeman: “The lady at the counter should be doing this, but I’ll do you a favor… okay, address change is done. Next time pay attention where you’re going.”

Me: “Uh… thank you?”

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