Passport Purgatory Plot

As my friends on Facebook already know, for reason's related to my middle son Christian and his impending footaballa trip to Italy with Seatown FC on Thursday Next April 1st, I had to, by whatever means available, find out about the status of his passport application. Submitted via passport express on March 5th. That whatever means, meant going there on shank's mare.


"Dis Way Dante Tru Passport Purgatory" Says Virgil

(based on this image from the tate)

My day today as blog entry ( as an example of cathartic writing maybe)- woken at 5.30am by some clown getting too many clothes appeal stickers and his/her own hand stuck in my letter box. Maybe it’s only the border region but there appears to be some unhealthy competition for supposed charity appeal clothing going on right now, Getting there before the other guy now actually extends to getting your charitable pleas in first, as early in the morning as possible it seems, unfeasibly early, come on people ! at 5.30am ? you folks need to find yourself a proper job and stop waking potential suppliers before the dawn… (all of which could be construed as me starting today just a tad disturbed…)

So after black coffee & a couple of emails, my eldest son dropped me off for 8am bus to Dublin. M1 Gridlock was less than usual the rain washed both sides of the bus simultaneously. About eighty minutes later Streets of Dublin, Rain, Rain, wind, bewildered tourists, wild bearded junkies on Parnell street, puff, pant, wheeze, stride along O Connell a street wide with wetness, showers towards Trinity, Raining down Nassau Street, more Rain up Molesworth Street, then had the privilege of being a wonky wet and contrary leg in a disgruntled human caterpillar queuing, in near sleet ( getting prodded in the back and side of the head by umbrellas, oops, sorry, pardon, beg your, apologies, arghhhhh stop it…) bunched along black railing for a bit, for just over 2.5 hours, only for the human tide to be held back, by a little blue rope, at the building foyer entrance, a special sliver framed pause to our existence, specifically to allow 'applications only' and 'certified collections only' to sail past me and the soaked others by my sides.

Some agitated discussion and the most singularly diminutive yet self consciously powerful (in that absolute control over my inch and a half domain manner), balding security man in Ireland gutturally grunted that it was because I and my lowly (i)liquefied ilk had merely 'a query' and thus were to be shepherded to the side in what must only now be regarded as the ' querified clueless section'. The animated little Adolf must have spent some time as a Dublin Taxi driver since upon his return some ten minutes later he stated: “I can only take five…. More”. Since I had been occupying the front of the clueless queue for that time, I was dubbed one of the chosen five… Progress… albeit cold, slow and windswept away in that Irish kinda backwards progress sort of beautifully bureaucratic bita wasted time bald ox.

Finally inside the door, a slight gentleman of Asian Persuasion, offered a Faustian choice to me and my disconnected entourage of information innocence, he asked us to encourage him to push the red ‘applications’ button or (depress ?) the Black ‘Query’ button on a standalone ticket dispenser system.  After hesitating for no reason other than being numbed by freezing wet feet and general Monday morning fatigue, the seemingly split second quandary of dealing with the illusion of being presented with something that almost sounded like a ‘choice’ confined the moment to a sort of decommissioned bullet time – As I saw myself slowly climb and walk the walls in frustration, I fell from the ceiling and snapped out of it. In a deliberately non sheepish voice I asked him to press for a ‘query’ ticket whatever colour it was supposed to be, I mean blue pill, red pill or smart arse ointment, whatever,  For God’s sake man just press the right button, don’t ask me which one you should press… You work here, I’m  only from the frozen solid stupid sheep queue.

A small mechanical spitting noise and I was gestured to take the pristine white ticket with three large numbers on it’s other side,  I was again momentarily mesmerized as the prize automatically spewed forth from the machine, when I held it in my hand, caressing and relishing rotating it, the little white ticket helpfully informed me in a much smaller font below the Number five hundred and ten ! that there were 72 people in front of me in this section stupidity queue...

Although the walls were adorned with all manner of rainwear, hats, reverse smirks, sodden and sullen glances and regards being worn, wrung and worn out by all manner of person and people, the assembled were strewn about the room like burnt out enthusiast’s having to attend one final failure. Gaps existed and as I ambled about aimlessly and found myself standing in front of a vacant chair among the three rows of connected, networked, nailed together in their own misery waiting rooms chairs, so I sat down and joined the mass morasses, and waited... and waited... and waited and waited, and waited some more.

I spoke with some similarly clueless people, who had also tried to get information on the status of their respective applications using websites, phones, emails, all to no, nada zero avail, after watching perhaps 100 people submit applications and another 72 receive the full gamut of responses to their own 'queries', about another two and half hours into the passport purgatory, having endured about five hours of administrative constipation, 508, 509, 510 - my number flashed up and I was finally beckoned to the hallowed hatch... I start explaining... I’d practiced it in my head while trying not to mentally apply the Jack (here's Johnny) Nicholson's door opening techniques to the elongated security counter…. Its simple you see…then  the guy says... number?.. so I give him the passport express receipt with the number on it, he I assume pauses his game of solitaire (or his bidding on ebay) or whatever the hell he was doing for those incongruous intervals where no one was at his counter and he was fiddling with his screen, he starts to type the digits from my receipt, hits his return key and nonchalantly says: "yup, that's sent out today, you should have it in the morning.. next..."

Feel free to laugh, it was my response after twenty four days and almost eight saturated hours in pursuit of the elusive' what's going on with the application information" ... Now I just have to start watching the post for the next two days….

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