My appointment at the Questura today was at 10:05. I got there at 10:00, showed my appointment time, and the police at the door gave me a ticket with a letter and a number on it. Then I got to stand (there were no more seats available) in the larger room, outside the metal barricades, and roam freely until my number was called. The same story just from a wider pasture. Mothers walked their toddlers up and down the corridor-of-a-room, the police yell at people to get to their feet, even though there aren’t enough benches – some probably had already been there for four hours at that point.
My appointment was at 10:05. At 11:05 the red numbers still flashed nowhere close to mine. at 12:05 I had gotten a bottle of water and a bag of M&M’s (comfort food?) from the vending machines that you have to kick and punch for them to function, and then heard an undercurrent of Florentine swears echoing from behind me. The Italian was with his wife and his eyes were wide as they walked into the mess, seemingly for the first time in a long time.
“What is the point of an appointment if this is the shit you get when you walk in here?” his arms flailed wildly with frustration. Their number was after mine. We made eye contact and I sympathized, and soon his wife and I were comparing documents (a paper document is supposed to last five years or more) and notes on the information we found on what we were supposed to bring with us that day (neither of us really knew). She had gone another day at 6am, stood in the barriers for four hours, and was told the same – go online, make an appointment.
Finally, it was my turn, about three hours in – and the man behind the glass was pleasant enough and helped me more than hurt me, though I still have to make another appointment. Most importantly, I started the process of renewing my document and he gave me a receipt – which means I can’t be illegal now. But I have to get another three documents, from (probably) another three offices with Rami’s help because some are basically a legal note saying he still loves me enough to keep me around (because my immigration status is based on our marriage), and then I have to make another appointment but get to “skip the line” and finish applying. Then, so I heard today, when it’s ready I have to make another appointment to pick it up…
It’s not even four in the afternoon and I’m exhausted. Now I’m off to read about what happened in the US while I was waiting in another immigration line, and then bury myself in Icelandic research because of a new project I’m working on. Happy hump day!