So, how am I supposed to spin this?

If you’ve read the last two of my posts here (Part I) and here (Part II), you know that last week was a bit trying for me. I know I complain a lot but, honestly, I do have a lot to complain about. It’s like the bureaucracy here just won’t stop giving me material. After checking my mailbox this afternoon, though, I suddenly had to ask myself a new question:

“So, how am I supposed to spin this?”

I am invited to present myself here, on this date, at this hour. I wonder what time I need to show up. © 2011 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

After my classes (and my second failed attempt this week to renew my health coverage), I finally made it home. As usual, I checked the mailbox and what did I see sitting there? Why, it was my self-addressed, stamped envelope from back in July when I submitted the renewal request for my residency permit! I hurried upstairs, tore open the envelope, and there it was: not the residency permit itself, of course, but my lovely yellow convocation to go pick it up on November 16!

Now, I know I should be happy about this, right? There’s no more wondering about when my permit will be ready, or if my appointment might be scheduled for when I’m in the U.S. for Christmas. A big part of me is still rather bitter, though, that I spent 13 hours last week at the Prefecture in Bobigny to renew a récépissé that I don’t even really need now that I have this convocation. It’s not like I’m going to be leaving and re-entering France between now and November 16, and it’s not like the police are going to stop me and ask for my papers on the way to class. If only my récépissé had been valid for 3 months and 1 week … or if my convocation had been mailed last week instead of this one … well, you see what I mean.

On top of that, I’m pretty sure that this new residency permit will only be valid until mid-February when I finish classes. That means I’ll probably be right back in a long line at Bobigny as soon as I get it, so I can ask for another appointment to submit another request for a different kind of residency permit. Sigh. The process never ends.

But on top of that is the worst: my next blog idea is now completely ruined! I was going to start a contest to guess when I’d end up getting the permit—you know, something like: “The entry closest to the date and time of the convocation without going over wins!” I was even going to offer some French delicacy to an American winner (like a box of Ladurée macarons) or a jumbo sack of peanut-butter M&Ms to a French winner. Oh well, what can I do about it now? I guess I’ll just trot this idea out again when it comes time to renew in February.

© 2011 Samuel Michael Bell


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