Monday, 9 December 2013

The Registration Event

I had a 10.30 am time-slot, but arrived at 9.50 am.
I went in and about 20 people stood in the relatively small reception area, mostly dressed in smart clothes, with a folder, or bag which would hold A4 size.
They were mostly younger than 30, mixed gender, mostly male, but with a couple of early-fifties gents thrown in, to mix it up.
Everyone looked respectable, and appropriately respectful, suitably grateful, somehow.
When they started queuing up to present the relevant documents, I left, aware that this was the 10 o'clock crowd. As soon as I walked outside I felt the need to urinate quite urgently and quickly foresaw the possibility of a huge dark, wet stain on the front of my jeans while sitting in a large office with an attractive youngster. I strolled down the road with a cigarette, hoping there was a supermarket with a toilet nearby. Hoping that I wouldn't piss in my pants, a grown man walking round the outskirts of the city.
There was a warehouse outlet. What is a warehouse outlet?
I relieved myself, conscious of every passing minute and estimating my time of return to the Mail Centre to be 10.20 am. My estimation would soon be found to be precise.
On my return journey, I had another cigarette, then liberated a Mint Imperial from a Tupperware tub I keep in the glove compartment. I also rubbed my right index and middle finger into my left armpit to mask the smell of tobacco by means of second-hand armpit deodorant.
I took my place in the queue facing two receptionists, who would check off whether you had the numerous required documents which were stated on the website after confirmation of appointment.
As every candidate before me admitted to the absence of some document or another - a counterpart driving licence, a valid passport, a bill WITHIN THE LAST THREE MONTHS and were sent off to often unsuccessfully attempt to retain said documents and return with them, I shook my head to myself, being sure not to move a muscle.
Everything on the website basically said, "If you don't bring this, you may as well not bother."
"God," I whispered, projecting my bottom lip, Napoleon Dynamite, "Neanderthals."
I wanted to dance then, but I restrained myself.
As soon as I was next in the queue, with my smug smile and my back-up documents and secondary photocopies, I realised I had not brought the two required, passport sized photo graphs with the signature on the back.
I felt myself go bright red...


...they let it go. They would photocopy my passport photograph for my ID. I got through and went upstairs. There were about 7 people signing you through and then three others you had to sign off with - whatever that meant.

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