I go straight to the ministry and handed the woman my papers. I sweatily, I took them, crinkled out of my backpack. She was decidedly unimpressed. I smoothed them as I gave them to herbut she looked from me to the papers and back with a look of condescension. The corners of some of the papers were bent but other than a fold or two, they were pretty good condition. However with a deadpan look she tells me that this is unacceptable, and that I have no respect for the ministry. I balk, “are you serious? The pages are a little bent, were in fucking Guyana sister, your lucky your getting these papers at all and that I wasn’t mugged on the street on my way getting them to you”. Anyways, all kinds of ill thoughts are passing through my head and I seriously contemplate throwing down and making a huge scene. I tell her if the ministry and immigration were half as competent as they thought they were I wouldn’t be here in the first place. Well, this doesn’t go over so well, with our little bureaucrat. She nods like she’s heard it all before and repeats that there’s nothing she can do. She moves on to the affidavit which I’d folded in half and there was a small sweat smudge on the top, on account of, well you know, running around in the heat and humidity on a fool’s errand. She sneers at the affidavit, holding it in pinched fingers between her thumb and forefinger. “How do you expect us to accept this?” she says as though I’d contaminated the thing with smallpox (God I wish I had thought of that!). “No, no this won’t do”. So I pick up the documents and cram them into my bag with a vehemence that raises an eyebrow. I am irate and in a total state of disrepair. I mean who the hell did this bureaucratic bitch think she was?!!! I went over in my mind the insults I’d ladle on her when I returned. “No, too racy…hmmm that could be construed indecently…too threatening….too overt…I can probably be jailed in some countries for that one…” no, it was an art choosing just the right insult for this particular individual, but I had one, by God I think I had one! It was the PERFECT INSULT!!! It was so wonderfully fit that I feared to say it aloud for fear that it would simply disappear and be no more. No, I cherished it in my heart. So with a lightness in my step that can come only from crafting THE PERFECT INSULT, I rushed off and had the affidavit redone. I scoffed at being charged all over again, but apparently there’s paperwork behind every stamp and seal that he gives. So I left and as I did so, “Oh, can I have one those juices too”. He smiles and his entire demeanor completely changes. As though Justice of the peace was his regular, humdrum job but selling food and drink, now that, that is where his passions lay. He bids me good day and good luck in this new persona of his, stepping out of the office waving to me. To look slightly more professional and to protect the affidavit from the rivulets of sweat coursing down my arms I purchased a large brown envelope. As I am running…literally running to the ministry for home affairs in my wellington boots, people stare at this ‘white boy’, envelope flapping in the wind, red faced, sweaty. I disregard their stares and keep on running. A block from the ministry and I check my pockets. I stop dead! “Oh shit”, I nearly crumple to the ground. “No, no, no this can’t be happening!!!” In my haste and anger I had left my passport with that hostile, psychopathic nazi woman. I redoubled my pace, got to the ministry run through the gate not even stopping to be wanded and speak to the security officers. “Please forgive me, I left my passport up there, so I can’t check it in here”. “Sorry we’re closed”, the woman says. “Look, I just need to get my passport”, I plead abandoning all hope of getting my tourist visa extended or of seeing the nazi’s face when I unleash my PERFECT INSULT. “Sorry, the doors are locked”. I abandon all civility in this moment. “Then open them, you have keys don’t you? You’re a security guard aren’t you? Can you not open a door?” “No”, the woman says simply. She looks on my sympathetically, but with no trace of help in her burly frame. “You will have to come back on Monday”.
Dejectedly I walk back to the guesthouse, stopping along the way to console myself with cookies and 2L of coke. I collapse in front of the fan physically and emotionally spent. I more or less had the intention of doing absolutely nothing for the weekend. And I actually followed through remarkably well on that plan. I edited some photos, watched movies and honed my PERFECT INSULT. I rifle through my backpack and there nestled comfortably in the crumpled, rejected affidavit I find my passport. I laughed and then cried, it seemed like the PERFECT INSULT.