citizens information

This morning the doorbell rang downstairs. Rory and I decided it was probably a package—we have no drop-in friends yet, and from what I can tell, neither do our housemates. Listening, hoping neither of us would have to go down there, we heard one of our housemates slowly emerge from his room. We agreed that it was Ulrich. He went to the door, then went back to his room. So the package was for Ulrich—a meteorite chunk, or a modem.

Now our minds were on the postman. I knew Rory and I were both fruitlessly counting weeks, wondering when my work authorization would arrive. We posted the application a little over a week ago. The official processing time is up to six weeks—“maybe more,” the website says. Going by the efficiency of other offices we’ve been at the mercy of here, “maybe more” seemed likely, but for some reason, I said to Rory: “I feel like it will arrive very soon, any day now.” Rory laughed—a worried laugh. He reminded me about the “up to six weeks, maybe more,” then we started making jokes about civil servants. This led us back to our earlier conversation: before the doorbell rang, Rory had been filling out an illogically put together tax form, and we were making jokes about the people who work at the tax office, to ease our worries about the form we need them to process within their stated processing time: up to four weeks (maybe more). Rory got ready for work and went downstairs. A moment later, I heard him coming back up the stairs: my work authorization letter had arrived! This is very good news: soon I’ll have a job and our income will cover our living costs. I also need to visit the dentist, which (if you’re me) costs a month’s earnings.

…..

I just read over what I’d written, noting the meanness and snarky tone: I must be feeling threatened by the prospect of working. A job could put my writing on hold for a while, and a long break at this stage could be very bad for my novel. Rory is also a writer and has been facing similar fears—at least I can model myself on him (gracious, brave).

Also: sorry, civil servants, you don’t deserve it. And Ulrich is an extremely cool guy—someone should write a novel about him. Yikes, this tone, I really can’t shake it. I do think Ulrich is cool; I like him very much.

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