Friday, August 25, 2006

I had a diplomatic row too

You know, the US Naval Attache is not the only one to have been singled out by the Chavez Govt.
Me too (sort of). I'm standing in the excrutiatingly slow line where the Venezuelan authorities check your documents before you leave the country. There is an excrutiatingly slow line for before you enter it as well. The woman who is checking the documents seems to be deliberately slow, gleefully enjoying the passengers' nervous fidgeting as a only a born bureaucrat can. The colleague next to her stamps about ten people in the time it takes her to open one passport, which she leafs through as if it was the second volume of War and Peace or the Hammurabi Code, whichever is slower. I turn on my iPod and search somewhere in the deep crevices of my soul for a speck of patience. Bureaucratic power trips bring out the worst in me. I believe in my heart that bureaucrats are the one and only inferior, subhuman species (that's because I am Mexican, but it is true everywhere). So another guy opens up another line, and we all scramble to get out of this snail's domain. Since I am slowly stewing, I tell this man, nicely, that his colleague was extremely slow.
"You have to wait", he admonishes me, as if I was an antsy two-year old. "I know I have to wait, but I also have a plane to catch". He looks at me with utter condescension and says something like, "the plane won't leave". "So the plane won't leave without me, you think?". "Here we treat everyone well", he says, looking at my US passport. "Over there, they don't. Over there, they mistreat people". It took me a moment to understand that over there meant the US. Frankly, the little propaganda lesson was so out of order that I didn't have time to compose in my head a cogent response. I was stunned that this guy was already happily brainwashed with the classic, musty, anti-US crap. But bureaucrats are resentful mutts. They resent that you travel, that you have a car that gets towed, that you need documents because you have a life that means something, that you are not a bureaucrat.
Bureaucrats are hateful creatures and it is totally okay to loathe them.

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