Nothing like an exciting Thursday morning at the Customs and Immigration Service (CIS) to remind me how thankful I am to have the job that I do. I do not envy those people working there. They needed an injection of humor, and try as I may, I could NOT get that fingerprint man to laugh, make eye contact, or talk "unofficially." I did appreciate his efficiency, though! I want to give him this compliment up front, as a kind of caveat for what comes next...
One kind of funny, classic "bureaucratic" moment did happen: Apparently, according to CIS, my address is Thornberry LAND, not Thornberry LANE. News to me! What a glorious place Thornberry Land sounds like! A land of castles and knights and rolling green valleys. A land of milk and honey. Why, in Thornberry Land, we wouldn't just have "a house." We'd have multiple: In fact, we'd have castles and kingdoms and serfs and stuff! Live entertainment at the castle on Friday nights...beer (or "mead") on the house. This "Land" language is definitely not reflective of good old Thornberry Lane in Olney, MD!
Anyway, continuing on(I am having such fun with this; can ya tell?)...
After he had finished "rolling my pads" (that's, ya know, "fingerprint speak"), he asked me to verify what was on his screen (first name, last name, address, SSN, etc.). I politely corrected the address, indicating that "Land" needed to be changed to "Lane."
WELL, with the knowing glint of a bureaucrat in his eye, he picked up my letter (we received this a few days ago and couldn't come to CIS without this authorization letter) and pointed knowingly to the top left corner, where it indeed said "Land." He said to me, tapping it with his finger and a knowing smirk, eyebrows raised, "But the letter says it's 'Land'!" And he kind of crossed his arms, nodded, stood back, and "harrumphed." As if to say, "So, that's it. We're done with this!"
I smiled my most polite, courteous, innocent smile and leaned in toward him (probably scared the poor guy half to death, proferring such intimacy in an otherwise stark and barren office), saying "But sir, I think I know my own mailing address, and this is incorrect. Look at what it says on my driver's license." [insert innocent smile] He studied it and replied, his voice going up a notch, "You didn't catch this earlier, when you got the letter?" [insert stern face, like a father scolding a child] "Um, no," I said. (But even so, what would I have done with such info? Not come?) I replied, "But considering that the letter made it to my house, that's probably why I didn't think to check whether the address was right."
He kind of sighed, mumbled to himself, and then took the necessary action to switch his database to "edit" mode or whatever, which would enable him to correct the address. You could tell this was a step not normally taken. He corrected it, clicked "save," and asked me to once again verify.
Score one for the people!
Then I was done, and the next person to be called was Jeff. Jeff also apparently lived in Thornberry Land. "Here we go again," I thought. This guy is gonna LOVE us! Jeff's application, too, had to be corrected.
We got it all straighted out, and CIS has officially reinstated our residing on Thornberry Lane.
That Thornberry Land place, though: Gosh, it sure sounded like a nice kingdom to visit.