Yesterday I was in Milan with the husband, I had to go to the Brazilian Consulate to get my passport and register the kids’ birth and get a few other documents. For those of you as confused as I am on my heritage, I was born in Italy, I grew up in Texas, my Dad was Italian and my Mom is Brazilian, when I lived in the US none of the responsible adults got their act together enough to get American citizenship, although my Mother is now married to an American and merrily on her way to being naturalized. So, though I may well go about my life feeling American and wanting to go “home” to Houston, I do not have American citizenship, I do, however, have Italian citizenship and Brazilian citizenship, I foresee the latter soon becoming the bane of my existence.
The reason for my distress, which, though not overtly apparent, is pronounced and far-reaching, is due to the fact that I’ve come to the realization that all government workers are actually sadistic assholes who basically get their kicks making the rest of us jump through hoops of burning fire. (I know, redundant, but effective imagery. I’m referring to “burning fire” here, not “sadistic assholes”, though that qualifies as redundant as well.)
About a month and a half ago I called a friend of a friend at the Brazilian consulate, cause I had a lot of things to get done there and wanted to go about it in the most efficient way possible. This very nice gentleman kindly walked me through all the steps of all of the things I needed to get done: get a crapload of documents from a variety of offices in Italy, many of which are not commonly used in Italy, but hey, no surprise there. Make the relevant appointments through the consular website, send them the forms they need ahead of time, get pictures taken, I then divided up all my documents in neat little folders, got in the car and drove two and a half hours to Milan and spend the night in a hotel so I could be there bright and early (and most importantly, on time) for my appointment. I got to the consulate fifteen minutes early and waited outside with two hundred other people for them to open their doors (ten minutes late).
All this to say, I was fucking ready to get my passport.
When I finally sat in front of the lady who was effectively holding my life and my sanity in her hands, I found myself helplessly going through the governmental equivalent of “who’s on third” with many rounds of: ma’am, you need a valid Brazilian ID to get your passport, oh, well, I’ve brought you 33 documents that state me to be who I am, including, but not limited to, my Brazilian birth certificate, both the one issued to me by the embassy in Rome in 1975 when I was born, and the transcription (from 2008, when I happened to be in Brazil) of my birth certificate in some Brazilian government office that does this just so they know I actually exist in case the embassy’s birth certificate and the myriad of passports I’ve had since my birth weren’t enough, the police report that states that my old passport was lost or stolen (my old passport that expired fifteen years ago, so no, no one has likely stolen my identity in the meantime), and no less than three (3!) valid Italian picture IDs, that, considering this is the Brazilian consulate IN ITALY, should have some sort of, if not legal, at least demonstrative value. The only way I could possibly have further proven my identity was getting her to google me, and befriended her on facebook, but, going back to my point, I don’t have any valid Brazilian picture ID because my passport was lost and I’ve never lived in Brazil. I understand ma’am, but you need to get an ID from Brazil, Yes, sure I get it, but you see, I tried, but I’ve never, not one day in my life, lived in Brazil, I have no proof of residence, they won’t give me an ID until I bring them a fucking passport (which is what the consulate it there for, incidentally).
So basically, I need an ID to get a passport, yet I need a passport to get an ID. Oh and, by the way, who’s on third?? When I finally managed to get through to her, that I needed to get the stupid passport FIRST, she comes up with excuse number… honestly, I’ve lost count… that the transcript from the Brazilian government office registering my birth was too old (2008), that person with my name, (I don’t have a common name, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the only person in the world with my name – as far as google is concerned, in fact, I am – and no, it’s not Bonny Bard) could have died in the meantime and I could be trying to steal her identity.
This excuse, the one that made me get up and leave in frustration and defeat, is so ridiculous that I swear to you I had no comeback (right then, I came up with plenty later, but isn’t that what always happens?). I mean for the love of God and all that is holy! I must be a genius in identity theft because I had already apparently swindled the Italian government, since I had a driver’s licence, identity card AND A PASSPORT with my name and picture on it. I had birth certificates for my kids, a marriage certificate with my husband, copies of my Mother’s Brazilian passport and ID, and by God I was set on swindling the Brazilian consulate too! What next? World domination? Am I… could I possibly be a spy? Or a drug dealer? And rather than buying fake documents of the black market, like any respectable criminal would, I wanted to up the ante by getting an official passport from the Brazilian Consulate in Milan. I’m an evil genius, Bwahahahaha!
Are they fucking kidding me?
No seriously. Are they?
I left, unable to comprehend that I hadn’t gotten anything done. And now I’m pissed, mostly at myself, as usual, because I should have thrown the mother of all hissy fits right there in the consulate. It may not have helped me get what I wanted, though frankly I’ve seen it work lots of times, but I would’ve at least vented directly there and you wouldn’t be reading what amounts to practically the complete, unabridged, works of William Shakespeare, if not in style, at least in length.