Wednesday, April 17, 2013

the runaround

I hate bureaucracy, especially when it fails to provide updates on policy.

I'm in DC right now,  at Columbia Plaza across from the State  Department, enjoying mild temps and a cool breeze at a parasol table, and doing absolutely jack fucking shit for two hours.  Why?  Well, therein lies a story.

You may recall that I phoned the Office of Authentications yesterday, secured a 1PM appointment to get my documents apostilled, but was told I needed to get them certified first. I was given a number to call; I called it and heard a recording that referred me to a particular address: the address of the Office of Authentications!!  The recording also said that drop-off of documents was allowed between 7:30AM and 11AM, this despite the fact that the State Department's webpage said drop-off was only between 8 and 9AM.

Still not knowing whether I was dealing with one office or two, I decided to shoot for a 10AM arrival.  Bad move, that.  I ran late, got out the door by 9:30, and failed to reckon that the drive to George Washington University (where the State Department is located) would take close to 90 minutes, putting me dangerously close to 11AM.

Somehow, I got to State with just nine minutes to spare, parked, then prayed I'd have enough time to hoof it to Authentications. After wasting a few minutes fumbling around, I found the office in the courtyard of Columbia Plaza, with about one minute to go.

A female guard asked me whether I had an appointment. I told her that my appointment was at 1:00, but that I had come earlier hoping to drop off my documents for certification. She shook her head in a manner I can only describe as bored sorrow, and told me that, as the website said, drop-off was only between 8 and 9AM.

"But the recording I heard said that drop-off could happen between--"

"7:30 and 11? Yeah, that's been changed."

I slumped, defeated.

"So guess I'll come back at one," I said distantly. The guard nodded and closed the door, locking me out for two hours.

So here I sit at Columbia Plaza, barely sixty yards from the front door of the Office of Authentications, with fuck-all to do while I wait. I haven't gotten my documents certified, so I have no idea whether apostilling can even happen. We'll soon know, I suppose.


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