Our road trip last Friday took us up to Los Angeles where we had an appointment at the German Consulate to get our passports renewed. The new passports require you to get fingerprints taken, therefore you have to show up in person. I had made this appointment way in advance and what bugged me about it, was that we had to call an agency that takes care of these appointments for the German consulate and before you even get a live person on the line you have to punch in your credit card. I was charged $12 at the end of my conversation with a very nice British male voice who accommodated us at the earliest possible time.
The email confirmation stated, that if you are late by 10 minutes, your appointment will lapse. So, we got on the road early enough, we thought, to drive to LA. Google maps showed that it could take 2 hrs20 min. upto 3hrs30 min. (depending on traffic, I guess). But I only saw that after we had left 3 hrs before the appointment. That already gave me the first anxiety sweat. I was driving, and it was a mess on the highway. Lots of cars, and of course, road work. After lots of sweat and cursing on the road, we arrived 5 minutes to the appointment. I jumped out of the car and let my husband park the car ($1.50 per 15min) and ran into the building, on the elevator and through the security check. "Frau Namdar" I heard when I entered the main room. My cue - my husband had just made it inside too and his appointment followed mine, so I had all the paperwork and the cash (exact amount as requested) in one folder and we both approached the counter.
Ahh, I love the German bureaucracy and the inflexibility of the officials. The lady's eyes popped out when she saw both of us. I explained that our appointment was back to back, so could I place all documents for both of us into the security drawer? "Nein", she barked at us, she can only do one at a time - and I handed her my file. Exactly as requested on their website and as a good Admin. Asst. does, I had arranged all originals plus one set of copies in a neat folder. She completed my file in a matter of minutes. When she bellowed the amount due through the microphone (which had a big sign attached 'please do not touch' - would I dare to?)
I had the audacity to ask if we could pay for both passports after she was done with my husband's file. Another loud "Nein" sounded through the little speaker, and she said that she already told me, that she could do only one file at a time.... oh excuse me for asking. Anyway, the second file was as orderly and complete as the first, so she was done in 10 minutes too. I had saved her 40 minutes...... give me a smile woman..... Well, the whole experience made us smile, as it was just so typical and we had not expected anything else. Happy that we had checked this off our list, we spent a wonderful day in Santa Monica and had some wonderful ice cream, too.
Not any knitting done in the car, as the drive back was just as stressful, even to me as a passenger.