(Yes, I had to check the spelling of eighth…)
Did you know? The only animated Asterix movie to ever have an original screenplay was called The Twelve tasks of Asterix. You should feel better about yourself for knowing this. Simply because Asterix is awesome. And the fact that I love Asterix should come as no surprise as I love comic books and Obelix was the first superhero to inhabit earth. Chronologically speaking off course.
I wanted to give a short version of the plot of the film, instead I decided on a short-short version. I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending for anyone.
Roman legionaries gets beaten up. Claim the Gauls are gods. Julius Caeser assigns twelve tasks ala Hercules, assuming he will put the rumor to bed. Unfortunately for Caeser, Vitalstatistix assigns Asterix and Obelix to finish the task(s) at hand.
The eight task on the list of twelve would be to find Permit A38 in “The Place That Sends You Mad”.
And I’ve been there. We call it the Department of Home Affairs and it’s the place where you apply and collect your passport. Needless to say, I failed this task miserably, proving once again that I’m not a god, nor do I look like one. I’m just another average, pissed off citizen of a country where incompetence reign supreme.
I knew this day would come, so I was mentally prepared for it. I took muscle relaxers, anti-depressants and a weird tasting natural herbal remedy that would allow me to calm the fuck down. Sorry, none of it worked. Another part of my useless preparation was an exhausting Crossfit session, thinking that if I over-exert myself then I wouldn’t have the energy to be pissed off at anything. I would be too tired to argue or get upset. It seems like I have limitless energy. And very sore muscles.
Before judging me, just note that the purpose of my visit was to find out if my passport has been delivered to our local office of Home affairs. Most people get an sms. After four weeks I still got zip.
As you walk into the building you are filled with an overbearing realization that nothing is happening and it occurs very slowly. It’s like an old age home without the bingo tables and television set. Crude aluminium benches grace the floor and non-attentive employees are looking at blank screens. There is a queue at the information counter, seven miles long, moving at the speed of a dying snail. I’m a little agitated because I only want to know if my passport is there or not. I say nothing and brace myself as I fall into the queue.
After seven minutes of nothing, I ask a bored security guard about passport collections. He barely directs me to another queue. I take a deep breath and decide to refrain from commenting about the absence of a sign. I sit down on the crude bench and immediately feel sorry for myself. I pick up my phone and start playing the highly addictive Space Bubble. Coincidentally, my smart phone just turned into the most valued possession I’ve ever owned. After 68 seconds I’m bored, a symptom of my Adult ADHD. Now my little agitation is morphing into a full blown annoyance. Sitting in a queue, in front of a counter with no-one attending said counter, will do that to you.
After forty-three minutes of waiting, I’m starting to lose my shit. The old lady, who is sitting on my thigh, has taken out her flask and poured a cup of tea. It’s obvious she’s been here before and came a lot more prepared for this soul crushing experience than yours truly. I was desperate to find anyone who remotely resembled a person with authority. It became apparent that such a person didn’t exist. It was like trying to find a straight male in the front row of a Cher concert. Or a baby-blue unicorn.
Eventually I just couldn’t take it anymore and stormed to the closest person who, fortunately for her, was standing behind a bullet proof window. I barked my question and she placidly directs me…back to the information counter! The same queue I left forty-three minutes ago. The good thing about returning to the queue was that since I left, it shortened to only five miles long. I hovered to the back of the queue.
I know myself relatively well, so I know exactly at which point I would lose control of the person I used to know. It was close. I took several deep breaths to control my anxiety, in anticipation of the wild creature that was about to show his face. Standing in the queue, barely controlling my rage, a lethargic excuse for a human strolls by. He informs everyone that the system is off-line. And, as he casually reveals, it’s been off-line for the whole morning. For those who have not connected the dots; a system that’s off-line implies it has no use. It’s worthless. Like a baseball bat in a golfbag. Explaining the blank screens and absence of assistance.
I wanted to scream like a banshee, run out, uproot the closest tree and return to hit people in the face with it. Then I would get into my SUV and drive through the fucking door of the building.
But I didn’t. I didn’t scream. I didn’t uproot a tree. I didn’t even walk out. I calmly asked the idiot supervisor for a number I could call to confirm the existence of my passport. He gave me a number. Actually a sequence of ten numbers. Then I left. I managed to control the urge of grabbing the smug looking man by his collar and scream down his throat why he didn’t inform us about the faulty system the moment we arrived.
Back in the driver’s seat I dented the steering wheel with white knuckles. I cursed through tight lips. I needed to calm down. Because I’m a grown-up. Because I’m educated. And civil. With good parents who taught me that physical assault might lead to jail time.
And I need to return for my passport…Some day.
It has been two days since I nearly turned into the Hulk. I’ve been phoning that number, and I’m trying not to exaggerate, 34 times, with no one picking up. Since then I have developed a twitch in my left eye that doesn’t seem to have any plans on leaving soon. It’s a foregone conclusion that my ability to prevent a scene in front of very dead-looking people must have caused some irreparable nerve damage. It won’t be long before the Wife will have me committed. I’ve gone mad.
‘Till that happens, I’ve taken up sucking my thumb as well. Because smoking can kill you. As can I.