Had a hell of a time at the Consulate trying to pick up a visa for longer than thirty days. I had my ducks about as lined up as I could, but it was going to come down to whether the consular official wanted to help me or not.
She didn't. Most useless human being I've encountered in a while. "So, by the rules, I'm sure I'm eligible for this visa..." - "I'm sorry, you're not." - "My friend got this same one, under these exact same circumstances, in Mongolia." - "Maybe you should go to Mongolia." - "The point is that it's the same rules there and here." - "You're an American. I'm sorry." - "Umm, right, yes, I'm American. So is my friend. I read all the rules that are available online, and I believe I'm eligible for this visa. I have the forms and money. Can you please just take the forms, the money, and put it into processing?" - "I can't do that. Next person, please." - "Excuse me, ma'am..." - "I can't help you. Next person."
That's just a snippet of the whole exchange. Man oh man, I've met some very friendly and useful and helpful consular officials and immigration officials, but I've also never seen a position with such uncalled-for amounts of arrogance. She wouldn't refer me to anyone else, wouldn't give me a copy of the rules that she's referring to (online, the website says I'm eligible) and was just a patronizing and nasty person. And I was pretty polite and friendly up until about 90% of the way through the conversation.
I run through all my options, and anything that's going to make a scene or escalate things is more likely to do harm to me than to get what I want.
I leave the Consulate, the security guard is very friendly and cool on the way out as I pick up the bag I left downstairs (thanks, that helped), and I sit down with some food and coffee.
And, huh, I realize it was only 65 minutes -
[8:30AM: Awake: 4 hours sleep]
9:05AM: (15 general-life, 10 maintenance, 10 walking)
9:30AM: (15 maintenance, 10 general-life)
10:25AM: (20 walking, 45 visa-applying)
10:45AM: (20 maintenance)
11:15AM: (20 visa-applying, 10 walking)
45 minutes of filling out forms, 20 minutes of working while I waited (no problem, had emails to reply to), and then 20 minutes of dealing with nonsense.
It felt like a long time and I was pretty steamed by the whole process. But it was only an hour. Okay, I just had an hour of my life not work out right at the Consulate. That's... not a big deal. I piss away an hour of my time accidentally with some regularity.
Maybe I'll go back with copies of the rules and even more thorough paperwork and letters of invitation and whatever - I've already got the forms filled out. Maybe I'll get it sorted out in Hong Kong. Don't know, need to think that through. But realizing - as much of an unpleasant start to the day as that was, it was only an hour lost. That's the tangible cost.
Well, I feel a lot better. Perspective. Context. That feels better. Transcend.
I do still hope she crashes her bicycle later, though.