We need an unabridged birth certificate for my daughter so that she can participate in the provincial trials for Netball, a sport that incorporates a net and a ball and some throwing.
Therefore we need to go the department of home affairs.
Aaaaand let me put that into perspective.
I’ve known people who went there and never returned. At least not as the same people. Others required intensive counselling. Some people have developed a severe twitch, as it is the place where hope goes to die. A market place for incompetence, despair and frustration.
It’s basically like taking your kid to the dentist for a root canal. And that’s on a good day.
Like any normal citizen, I took medication before I went there to ensure my patience levels remain within the boundaries of “This is pleasant” and “I want to attack someone with a stapler.” The Wife and I (Yes, she came with, to protect me from a heart attack) slogged through many counters and different forms and a dozen of unfriendly staff to finally leave two hours later with a moderate level of satisfaction. More importantly, no person was harmed throughout the ordeal. The least of all me.
Two weeks later I received a text from the department, informing me that I have to return to the place where happiness disappears because my daughter doesn’t exist. Or more accurately, no records of her birth can be found on the population register of South Africa. Now I’m pretty sure my daughter is real, otherwise my life would have been the most severe case of post-traumatic stress in living memory.
So I went back, partly because I needed the birth certificate and partly because I wanted to scream at someone for losing my daughter’s records. I did manage to phone the office before I left to try and make some sense of this newfound reality of me living with a ghost. Unfortunately the call center was as helpful as a fridge in Antarctica. I did use the opportunity to confirm what documents I would need in order to sign my Princess back into existence.
I went back for a second time but forgot to take my medicine.
Upon arrival, I ended up in a queue that wasn’t going anywhere. A lackluster clerk was trying to do as little as possible behind her information counter. When I finally arrived at the front, albeit three birthdays later, I challenged her on the little predicament, waving the original birth certificate in front of her like it was a checkered flag at the end of a race. She didn’t think I was funny, but truth be told, I wasn’t trying to be.
With the warmth of an Ice Queen, she threw two blank forms in my face. One of them was an affidavit that I had to sign, providing a reason for the late registration of my daughter. I looked at her with as much disgust as I could muster and she looked at me with a blankness that I’ve never seen on a human face. It must be what a black hole looks like. I told her that this wasn’t a late registration and that they actually lost the birth records and that I think it’s completely unacceptable for this to happen and that I’m extremely frustrated at the bureaucracy of this institution and…
Then she interrupted me asking why I took so long to register her birth… In that moment I lost my will to live.
And then it gets worse.
After accepting my fate and signing the document where I confessed to something I never did, she scanned my documents and told me I needed a few more. Aka WTF!!
I made a sound that can only be described as a primitive growl, even though it didn’t cause any change in the expression of Miss I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-your-problems. She didn’t even flinch. I did managed to bark the words: “But I phoned and you told me this is…” and then I completely shut down because I knew my words will not change anything. It’s wasted on the ignorant.
I took my documents and turned around, releasing a sigh that sucked the life out of three people in the queue. They all dropped like flies. I left the place where masochists are home schooled with a tsunami of cuss words, if only in my head. Only to return twenty minutes later to the back of the same queue I just left. My previous altercation with the woman who I want to run over with a Zamboni, didn’t cause any additional motivation for her to assist me again. She ignored me like a stop sign on a quiet street.
If I were an animated figure I would have a cloud hovering on top of me with rain and lightning bolts plummeting down to earth. I got to the front, after planning at least seven perfect murders, when she took my forms and told me to wait. As if it was a national pass time.
As I’m in a fight against time for the trials of Princess I did ask for some kind of temporary document I could use as proof in the event that the real document is not ready in time. She confirmed that there is such a letter and that I need to apply for it. I said: “I would like to do so now”. She said: “I can’t”. I asked: “Why?”. She said: “Because the supervisor is not in”. I asked: “So when can I apply?”. And she said: “Two days before you need the real certificate”. It was the second time in an hour where I died a little inside. And wishing for her to die a lot.
Back to waiting. And fuming. And scheming. What else could I do? I eventually turned to my superpower to stabilize my heart beat and control the urge to punch someone in the throat. (My superpower being able to blog on my phone.) In the process I also received the unabridged birth certificate of Dude, which I didn’t need at the moment, but at least I know my son is real. Small miracles.
I then left the underworld and breathed the fresh air of normal life but yes, unfortunately I have developed a twitch in my left eye and immediately booked a session with a psychiatrist as I want to be the same man I was when I woke up this morning.