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That was only 65 minutes? Okay, a lot less aggravated now

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.

How I switched from coffee to tea and 10 things I learned

On Mike Dariano

I loved many thing about coffee. The smell, taste, texture. I loved brewing it in my Aeropress, a process that slowly warmed my body and mind for the day. The only thing I didn't like about coffee was how it made me feel. I liked the caffeine kick at the beginning of the day but the over-caffeinated jitters were no good as was the malaise. So I switched to tea.

If you lived here, were my wife, and observed me give up coffee a half-dozen times only to pick it back up you might laugh. She did. But this time I felt like I had science and psychology on my side. I realized that coffee had become an automatic response to waking and part of my morning routine. This routine consists of waking, taking the dogs outside, brewing a coffee, and opening up the computer. I hadn't realized this until I was reading The Power of Habit and thinking about the feedback loop. My cue was waking up, my routine was making coffee, and my reward was getting work done before other people in my house woke.

This is where, in some ways, the switch to tea was easy. I had to replace my coffee with tea and that lone substitution in my morning routine would be enough. I was a like a baby who had a toy which was quickly taken away and a new toy dropped in its place. I would be none the wiser. And through two weeks I'm not. I do miss the occasional caffeine kick but not enough to go back. Here's 10 things I learned along the way.

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