Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One of 'those' days.

You know those days where you've achieved incredible amounts, powering through an ancient to-do list, making time for all outstanding tasks, tidying your desk as you go putting things on the floor as you discard them and then the doorbell rings unexpectedly and you consider ignoring it but realise you probably shouldn't so you answer and there's someone talking Nederlands, as is the way here in Belgie, and when you ask who it is, he replies that it's the police ...

Sigh, they had come to check if my daughter and little Miss Two were really living here, as per our paperwork which was fine, I don't mind but for the incredible mess we had made in the apartment during today.

I buzzed him in and ran.
I dressed properly, as opposed to the improper-not-fit-for-the-general-public way that I had been dressed and then Jessie and I sprinted about trying to put things into some semblance of order.

We pretty much failed, some of our failures seemed to pulsate as the lovely policeman walked passed them.

Yes, that was a basket of dirty washing next to the laundry door ... it was waiting its turn, the 3rd load today.

And please, don't go into the kitchen ... there are dishes you know and they might just bite. We had a roast last night and we're negotiating about who will be washing them (I later lost).

And no, I never ever wear my hair up like this when I step outside.

I swear he was laughing, not even entirely on the inside.

No matter, that part of the paperwork is done.
We weren't lying, they are living here ... I believe that was made clear.


Peter said...

I smiled when I read your post Di ;-)

The laundry, the to-do list, the unexpected visit of your friendly neighbourhood police officer - it all sounded very familiar indeed.

Yes, even us 'natives' get a friendly (or if we're not that fortunate, less friendly) police check if we move. Belgium is really focused on making sure they know where their inhabitants reside (as if a rental contract or a water bill is not sufficient to prove that one actually lives at the given address)

Basically, it's part of the "we don't trust you" attitude that used to permeate the relations between Belgians and their administration.

While some parts of that mistrust have been cleared, much of the (sometimes almost insane) amounts of checking along with tons of superfluous paperwork still remains.

I extended a rather useless Railroad discount pass today: they double-checked the form I had to fill out, ran my chip-card Belgian ID through their "won't be allowed on a train" database and insisted on two (2) pictures, leaving me with a weird plastic card that won't fit in my wallet.

After all these years, it still amazes me how bureaucratic Belgium can be. But look who I'm talking to, you experienced that firsthand .

Manic said...

I can just imagine how much fun that copper had.
Good to see you are obeying the law by the way. How unBelgian it may appear to be.

womanwandering said...

I quietly laughed my way through your replies Peter and Manic.

Nothing has ever been so bad as that moment when I learned that not carrying any form of ID = 12 hours inside a Belgian jail ... which would have made a great blog post, as long as I didn't have to share with anyone mean.

Good luck with finding that new wallet for your weird plastic card Peter and Manic, you would rarely leave your screen if you had a fly-on-the-wall view of the life that surrounds me sometimes. You would risk dying from laughing too hard though ...

david mcmahon said...

We can all identify with those sentiments. ``Dishes that bite''? That is a wonderful description, Di.



womanwandering said...

Thanks David ... seemed true at the time ;)