On the website, I came across the info that you need an appointment to be sure you can get your visa together. In fact, I’d not even technically submitted the application yet… I just submitted some paperwork for an application to be created! You have to print the form and bring it in person at your appointment time.
I dashed through the website to find out how to get an appointment with Cox and Kings. The next appointment was available in two and a half weeks… I was about to lay my head in my hands.
Can I just go there unannounced and bum-rush them? I was tinkering with the appointment function mindlessly as I pondered pillaging, keeping some relic of hope alive in my heart, and a constant stream of shameless prayers.
Alongside an automated email confirming my paperwork reception, I punched the appointment button for the tenth time, and got on the schedule for tomorrow morning! It was surreal.
The next day, everything was put aside, and I arrived first thing. I waited in line for three and a half hours, well past my slated time. In fact, I got the sense that appointments were more a show of professionalism than an actual systematic part of the procedure.
In tremendous suspense, running through my pitch to the Cox and Kings representative in my mind, I leafed through documents I’d compiled to try to strengthen my case and get them to rush a little more than their so-called “urgent” processing competitors.
It was now my turn to face off against the appointed heavy-set Australian rep. who’d just been vigorously fighting with her last appointee’s pressure to expedite a visa. I felt an ominous air as I cracked a nervous smile and greeted our fated Melissa.
I expressed my need to get this visa in no more than six days very candidly and pulled out my paperwork.
She gave me a wry glance in return.
“As it says on our website, that’s why we recommend purchasing your flight tickets after obtaining your visa.” I wanted to tip my hat off to her for the kind suggestion, but kept my cool.
Look, it’s actually an emergency! I told her.
My guru has been terribly ill with shingles and I need to see him immediately!
That was true…
I’m not capable of lying.
But I didn’t think revealing the real factor here was my silly forgetfulness and not a sudden call from Guru could possibly help me to get to him sooner.
She told me that I’d need a doctor’s note from him expressly asking for my presence.
That was absolutely out of the question. I was not about to burden him for my blunder. It would stretch the story too far and use the very person I’m here to learn from.
My emails that he’d written to all his disciples updating us on his medical condition evidently wouldn’t cut it…
Is there anything else I can do??
Her eyes widened and lips straightened.
I surrendered to the blank expression.
Okay, let’s just submit this application…
Then we got into business mode while she examined my printed application form that I’d worked on finalizing and pasted a goofy photo I somehow found of myself at the last minute.
Silence, as I waited for her to approve my work.
“Uhh… Sir, your stated address does not match your proof of identification.”
“Your driver’s license lists you at 179 Maytime Drive. You wrote on your application 159 West 53rd St.”
Yeah, my driver’s license is my permanent address on Long Island and the address I wrote on my application is where I receive mail directly at my place in the city.
“I understand sir, but it doesn’t match.”
They serve different functions. Why do they have to match?
“Because that’s standard operating procedure.”
Then she showed me some fine print somewhere to substantiate her point.
Again, I surrendered to the sternly blank expression.
Can I just change that then?
“I’m sorry, you’re going to have to fill out the form again.”
I took a deep, much needed, breath, and exhaled slowly.
I have to fill out the entire application again, from beginning to end?
“That’s right, sir.”
I nodded my head and smiled.
“The computers are over there,” she said pointing to the back of the room, as a hundred desperate applicants waited to pounce on my position with Melissa.
I exerted my strongest efforts to thank her and proceeded towards the back area.
While I paced to my corner, it occurred to me: I don’t want to make this woman’s life any more difficult than it already is… I’m not here to drag her down with me. I bet she’s got tons of applicants daily who fail to face her as a human being. Moreover, they probably blame her for their problems, which she may not even be able to help, hence what could amount to constant quibbling. Bureaucracy is not the fault of the bureaucrat but the autocrat (or otherwise) who set it up…
And a wave of compassion washed over me.
I was glad I’ve not rebelled or troubled her yet, in spite of my internal frustrations…