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Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Spain is a wonderful place so long as you avoid anything involving paperwork. After helping friends with their paperwork at the INAEM or dole office now it was H's turn. For the past three or four years we have been here and as the years have passed so has the amount of folk in the queue. Five years ago it was us and four Africans. Last year the queue went up by about fifteen folk and this year there must have been at least fifty. H's papeles had been checked and checked again by a third party but of course there was something missing, a number that can't be written in ink or pencil but must be returned to whoever wrote it out on their computer and be written that way. This did not please his boss who he woke up at half eleven in the morning, but she did it and turned up all bleary eyed with said paper. The funcionario who had been dealing with H's claim had told him he could simply come back once the paper was rectified and didn't have to take a ticket or queue, just to hand the paper in to him. Of course this didn't go down well with the rest of the folk at the dole office in particular one bloke who was outraged that H was 'pushing in' something the Spanish are excellent at until someone who should know better does it. I was expecting the bloke to exchange blows and was kind of hoping they would just out of boredom or because I had been done in by the Murdochs and their crew these last few weeks and had somehow been warped beyond my usual character. Sadly, the bloke in question just kept muttering 'que moro!', what a nerve, or a bloody cheek!' but didn't do anything else. The civil servant also did that thing that all folk do when they are presented with a passport, he started to look through it. What for I don't know, just being nosey I guess. H now has to wait for the usual permiso from some director or another from Aragon, which will allow him to leave the country and go on holiday.

More paperwork landed in front of me, this time questioning my whereabouts or whether I was still a resident of Spain or did I spend more time in another country and could I please come down the council to let them know. I had fifteen days to do this so I legged it up there this morning rather disgruntled at the wasting of my time and hadn't they got better things to do. All the way there I was gearing up for a showdown but by the time I arrived I adopted an attitude of 'let's play with their tiny minds' as none of them know anything or what they are doing. Luckily there were few people there and I was seen in a jiffy. I told the women I still lived at the same address and nothing as far as I was aware had changed. She took my passport and started flicking through it looking for that elusive detail and then noticed that the passport number was different to the one I gave them ten years ago. This isn't the reason they asked me to come down to the office but it gave them a chance to do that troubled look you only see on the faces of civil servants and men looking at anything broken and irreplacable. She said she would have to ask her colleague what she should do and stood up and went to a woman right next to her and asked. Again I was hoping they might start something and was looking forward to the diplomatic row that would ensue but her colleague just told her it would be fine and to write the 'new' number in pen as the computer wouldn't allow them to do this.

That sorted I went home elated and did the biggest spring clean in ten years, chucking out a monton of papeles and other shite accumulated over time. A decent lunch was in order and once more the Tomate Jamon didn't let us down with their octopus salad, quails, torrijas and the aptly named wine Parraleta.

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