Tuesday, August 16, 2005
It took me a minute to understand this subtle piece of graffiti which is currently showing midway down Cuba Street, but, well…
I guess simplified drawings of male genitalia are pretty much an international language, n’est pas?
Also: I am now officially allowed into America. As a student. For two years. As long as I don’t work too much. So it’s provisional entrance, but hell, I’m in.
My visit to the consulate was yesterday, and I was only there for twenty minutes. It was a bit of a breeze actually, at least as far as overly-officious-and-unhelpful bureaucratic processes can be a breeze. The building was easy to find, what with it being the only office building flying an American flag in, oh, about 8000 kilometers. There was an armed guy (who was, in fact, a New Zealander) and there was fingerprinting and a total lack of informative signage, but I think I’d built myself up for some multi-hour cavity-searching interrogative nightmare where the reality was just faceless and frustrating.
The only proper conversation I had in my time there (one which wasn’t composed entirely of me being given orders or asked questions) was with the uniformed New Zealander (Uncle Sam!) outside the main doors who took my bag, searched it, put it in a pile with other bags, and put me through the metal detector before I was allowed into the sanctified inner chamber of the consulate.
Like most of the consulate guys (and they were all guys) he wasn’t exactly verbose, but nevertheless this exchange took place:
Him: Have you got any knives, weapons, or cigarette lighters in here?
(he rifles through my bag for a while)
Me: How long do you think the wait will be? Can I take something in there with me to do?
Him: Like what?
Me: Well, I’ve got some crochet in my bag…
Him: (thinks for a second) No. No crochet needles.
Me: Um, it’s not really a needle. It’s called a hook. And it’s not sharp at all.
Him: No. No crochet.
Me: Okaaaaaay… why? What do you think I’m going to do? Poke out someone’s eye with it?
Him: Essentially, yes.
(He actually said “essentially, yes”. It was so great.)
So there you have it. They train ‘em staunch, and they train ‘em stupid. I tell you, there’s no point arguing with someone so obtuse. Which is why the system works so perfectly, and why I had absolutely no opportunity to stab someone in the eye with a crochet hook.