Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bureaucracy in your life.

      How big a role does bureaucracy play in your life?  That may very well depend on where you live or where you work.  When I lived in Spain, bureaucracy was always a factor to keep in mind.  How long would a simple transaction (bank, bills, offices, work permits, etc) take?  An hour or all day? Here is an essay account of renewing my work permit in Barcelona.  (The article needs Adobe to open it.)

      But this pales compared to working with the Board of Ed.  Here I inhabit an authentic Catch 22 universe. 
      Case in point 1.  I taught a night class in which I provided my own computer (nothing functioned in the building), my own texts and materials, and I even canvassed for students.  My reward for this was a written evaluation in which I was told I had to be more proactive.  You've got to be kidding was my response.

    Point 2.  Paperwork.  We have weekly attendance, lesson plans, and scan sheets to turn in which I never had any problems with.  There are apparently 2 people dedicated to full time monitoring like police officers.  Twice I've been called in to meet a particular person.  The first time was because I was off the day paperwork was due and I turned it in one day late.
      This week the office has lost my paperwork.  It was turned it on time correctly but since they are blameless I pay the consequences- letters on file, missed classes to attend the reprimand meeting. 
       What's you bureaucratic nightmare?

Back to the Spanish nostalgia- a poem from my first chapbook.

What I´ve Lost  

                          Leaving Europe                   


Paths lead

from town to

medieval town,

cathedral bones

stick out,

bells toll centuries.

The solemnity

of a saint´s day


We crowd to touch

the body of christ

while drums

pound out

God´s arrival. 


Ocean jet buzz

brings me across

to America,

empire of things,

following the white

highway line
                     into deep deep sleep.


  1. Nice poem, Terez.

    I proposed to my current wife in 2004 and couldn't get married until 2006. This was my/our bureaucratic nightmare, I was getting married here in Spain to a German, and doing it twice, once here in Bunyola and once in my wife's hometown. We were both divorced, she from a Geman man, but it was easier to get all the red tape done in her case since they were both married and divorced here in Spain, so only needed a bunch of documents legally translated from Spanish to German. My problem was getting married in Florida in 1984 to a Cuban woman who had got her green card in the "Second Wave" when she was a little girl in the Sixties. We got divorced in NY in 1985-6. I needed Apostilles from both states and I was often on the phone to Tallahasee and Albany, acquiring official copies of my own birth certificate (NY) and then the certificates of marriage (FL) and divorce (NY) and then all the corresponding legal translations into Spanish AND German, which in the end was not cheap. Finally when all the paper work was done for Spain, we got married in the tiny office of a local official here in Bunyola.....Then came the marriage in Germany in Sabine's hometown of Neuenstein in the Town Hall there. We couldn't confirm if they would let us get hitched until two days before the date we had set with the local town hall Beamterin, and even in the middle of the ceremony, with Sabine's whole family dressed up and waiting for us to be pronounced, there was some question as to the nationality of my ex-wife who had become my ex twenty years before.....though in the end we gat a marriage certificate that has seven languages. But wait, there's more....back in Spain where we live we needed to get the Libreta de Familia, and that took about 5 more trips to official offices in Palma and 6 more months of waiting for the Libreta to be processed, filled in by hand and mailed to us from Madrid. All totalled the red tape to be legally married in Spain took about 15 months. And I had long before been granted Spanish nationality .....which you would think would have made it easier.

    After all the rigamarole was settled, and we'd been married about a year and a half, a couple we met in a bar (he, American, she from France, both legal residents in Spain) got to talking and they asked us how to go about getting married here. Sabine and I just looked at each other and started to laugh. I said fly to Las Vegas, much easier......;-)