Tuesday, 18 January 2005

An uneven shade of grey

The extent to which weather plays upon the mood in a four-seasoned climate was reinforced to me last week.

The first couple of days upon my arrival were sunny and crisp, and I was pretty happy on Thursday. I talked to people at work, lying and trying not to sound like 7 degrees was too much of a letdown after 4 weeks of 30-35. I went for a drink with Liz, which was great even if I paid an exorbitant price for, of all things, Fosters. I was pretty happy, all things told.

And on the second day I went to the prefecture. Actually, first I tried to go to the office of medical inspections, forgetting that 9am is not really 9am until about 9:30 or so. In my optimism, i decided to do the prefecture first and return. An hour and a half later, I was served.

They have this new ticketing system, much more electronic and much more fallible than the old. There is now just one progression of numbers between all the different counters, so if your number is called just before someone else's at another counter, your number is only there for a moment and then its gone. You wind up with all these people staring at the roof at these little displays. They were already there looking depressed, carrying crying babies and in-triplicate photocopies of their entire life stories in a vain effort to reduce their prefectural sentence from 6 months to 4. Now they have neck cramp, too.

Anyway, to cut a short story long, i got my probationary residency permit extended yet again (its my 5th), and headed back into town for the medical inspection place. They're open now, but they tell me no, sorry, you can't have an appointment, your file has been deleted, you're going to have to go back to the prefecture and start over. Suffice to say, I'm pretty stoked about that. The average waiting time for an appointment is 4-6 months, I think, which means at least 3 and probably 4 more trips to the prefecture before I can progress to the next, no doubt just as tedious, step in this whole crazy game.

Through all this the sky was a uniform shade of miserable grey, the oh-so-European cobblestones beneath my feet wet in staunch defiance of the apparent lack of precipitation.

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