Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Grass is Greener Under the German Wiener, Part 2

Continued from yesterday.

We found the German consulate clearly marked with a cut out piece of paper stating “Honorable German Consulate” taped to a window.  We went in and hoped that we weren’t about to be sold into a human trafficking ring.

Inside we found a nice gentleman, probably in his sixties.  He wasn’t German and he wasn’t wearing wire-rimmed glasses or black socks with sandals.  He had set up an office in the living room.  On one of the walls hung the German coat of arms over a table holding various German magazines and books.



He explained that he was a lawyer but had half-retired and now only did honorary consulate work.  He had given up his office downtown.  He used to have interns from Germany that used this apartment, but now that he didn’t have interns anymore he converted it to his office.

So far, so good.  He started to look over our applications.  Mom asked to use the bathroom.  She came out drying her hands on her pants.  I found out why after I went as well.  Hanging on the towel racks were bath towels.  I initially thought that maybe that’s just what he had and didn’t necessarily mean that someone was showering there in the…consulate.  That was before I saw the washcloth hung over the shower curtain rod.  Okay.  Bit odd, but okay.

I came out after drying my hands on a piece of towel I though least likely to have touched someone’s ass and went back out.  The consulate was now on a phone call.  A phone call which prompted a lot of eye-rolling followed by complaining about “ignorant people” and about how nothing was going right today.  I guess the people on the other line were trying to enter a phone number into their phone while he was talking to him.  Seemed like he was overly effected by this, but I don’t know.  Maybe he was just having a bad day.  Maybe he was jealous of his neighbor’s wiener mat.  I know I would be.  It was a nice wiener.

Now it was time to get our passport pictures taken.  He explained how to get to the FedEx office that he frequently worked with.  Directions involved “across from the liquor store”.  We were assured that he sent people there all the time and the people there knew exactly what to do.

We found the FedEx.  It was past the donut shop, tattoo parlor, and across from the liquor store and one-legged hooker as promised.  Only one of those is made up.

 I seemed to remember something about how you are not supposed to smile in passport pictures anymore.  I told Nick about this and he took his first picture, no smile.

“I look like a rapist.  Can I try it again?” he asked the FedEx lady.  Her eyes got big, but she smiled.  She took his picture again this time with Nick’s less rape-y more smiley face.  I took mine, no smile.

That whole part about “they know what they’re doing”, yeah…not so much.  There were about three people having a conference about how to print pictures to German passport requirements.  I believe at one point they had Angela Merkel on the phone.  While they discussed and contemplated, I texted my two friends that work in downtown Dallas and arranged to meet them for lunch in 20 minutes.  This would turn out to be a mistake.

After looking at every product offered for sale at the FedEx store including an assortment of cheese spreaders and “Glossary of Emoticons” cheat sheet, we finally had our pictures in hand and left the store.  We arrived back at the office to a less than happy consulate man.

“I was wondering what happened to you guys!” he said visibly irritated.  We explained about the confusion at the FedEx store and handed him the pictures.

“SHHHHH…..OOOOTTT!  I almost said the other word!  These aren’t right!  You’re not allowed to open your mouth,” he said looking at Nick, “and I think your’s is the wrong size!” (Mind ended up being okay after some measurements.) “This just pisses me off because I send people to them all the time and I expect them to know what they’re doing!  They constantly have new people and I just don’t understand why they can’t keep the same people!”

“It’s okay.  We’ll just go get them redone, but if you don’t mind we’re going to eat lunch first because we’re supposed to be meeting some friends in a few minutes around the corner,” I said.

This was answered with an icy stare.
 “Is that a problem?” I asked.
“I’m going to have to shut down my program and re-enter everything,” (dramatic pause) “but it’s fine,” said in a way that implied it was anything but fine.  At this point, we noticed a man sitting in the waiting room/chair under the front window.  We are guessing he had been keeping this man waiting until we got back to avoid closing down this program he was talking about.  (I will point out that there were two computers on the desk.)  We left and that was our second indication of the day that this man had some anger issues.

To be continued…

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