Friday, September 23, 2011

Embassy blues

Since probably a year or so ago Czechs needed to apply for a visa and pass a face-to-face interview with someone at the embassy to visit the US. When it was time for my girlfriend’s visa interview, I told her I’d go with her to the US embassy. They wouldn't let me in the door. No reason. So I went for coffee.

I thought somehow that I would feel a little bit home visiting the US embassy. But that’s not really how things work. I’ve been back since and now I’m sure of it.

Everything requires an appointment (sometimes even a password). Police are everywhere outside. Almost no one you meet is actually American. And everyone except the lowly security guard is behind tempered glass.

I know that most of these people are just doing their jobs, but some of them absolutely do not care if they do that job well. So you get a lot of aggressive questioning and a lot of superior attitude and a lot of ‘come back tomorrow’.

I know that one step above my little life there’s a whole other level from which the strings are created and pulled. That’s fine. I know a lot of it’s about security. I know that people are trying to weasel their way into the US and its embassies to do horrible things every day. It’s just that every time I go to the US embassy I wish they understood that I’m a legal taxpaying dude who is just trying to get in and get out and get back to work. It doesn’t bother me that they think I’m a threat when I walk up to the door - they have to. It’s that once I’m inside and cleared, I ought to be treated better.

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