Chasing Paper

Clear instructions indeed! 


So, there we were wandering around IKEA as you do, enjoying the fact that the kids were in the play pen and we could complete entire sentences without fear of interruption when my wife’s phone rang. It was one of the nice ladies from the daycare with glad tidings for any overstretched parent, “A program has be announced whereby parents could get free daycare.” The nice lady had scant details but she did give us a name at the town hall of someone who could fill us in from Monday morning. This was not an opportunity to be sniffed at as like most overstretched parents free daycare would make a huge dent in our expenses. We were duly elated and the wedding present that we had intended to buy there gained a revised budget. 

Monday came and my good wife called the Town hall to garner more details as to our application. The nice lady told my wife that she herself was privy to scant details at that time but would call at some point with definitive instructions. She then took the kids off to my mother-in-law’s. The sun shone quietly and I got down to some serious writing, but noticing the worktop overpopulated with breakfast debris decided instead to tackle the feeding of the dishwasher first. Remembering that Top Gear had shown a new episode, I decided that I should have a quick look to see if it held any interest. I’m sure my laptop needed a format but of course this would interfere with my writing schedule. My bowels moved slightly and I harked back to the last time I had an uninterupted movement. My phone rang. I could not have been more moved, so I didn’t. The number was withheld so I decided it must be the Town hall. “Could I please speak to Ms So-and-so?” I enquired, Britishly in Greek.

Keep your eye on the paperwork
but don’t fall in the shit.
“She can’t speak now call back in 15 minutes…” kerderrrrrrr. My gratitude was cut off with a dialling tone, which incidentally sounds like a British engaged tone; nuff said.
The Top Gear team baffoond  around in cars that cost more that my mountain abode for another quarter of an hour when I paused and called Ms So-and-so.
“She’s unavailable call back in half-an-hour,” seasoned in the ways of Greek protocol I smelt a runaround brewing.
“!5 minutes now 30 minutes,” I riposted “Can I leave a message?”
“No.”
“Should I give up hope now?”

Hope?
“Sir , I’m afraid I can’t help you. She’s probably dealing with the subject that you are calling about. Call back and she’ll be able to help you.”
Well, Jeremy, James and the little one drew their conclusions at the Masarati (note to self: sell house, buy one, make sign “Bends for petrol!”)
Called again, “Ms. So-and-so is unavailable.”
“My wife called this morning, I have called three times now. Who can I speak to about the daycare program subsidy?”
“Oh, you need to call the citizens services.” (as good a translation as I can make: Basically an office that does all of the gratuitous bureaucracy that the responsible office has or will drive you to psychopathic or suicidal outrage before telling you that you are missing a stamp or that they are closing. They do exactly the same job but with a smile. ) She did, however give me the phone number. “Oh, you need to call the citizens services.” (as good a translation as I can make: Basically an office that does all of the gratuitous bureaucracy that the responsible office has or will drive you to psychopathic or suicidal outrage before telling you that you are missing a stamp or that they are closing. They do exactly the same job but with a smile. ) She did, however give me the phone number. “Hello, citizens services. Make it quick I’ve got a long queue here!”
“I’m calling about the daycare program.”
“Oh, the deadline is in 5 minutes you won’t make it, have a nice day.”
‘But, but I was told.”
“Sorry, can’t help, got lots of people here, bye.”
I called the Town Hall.

The conversation that ensued was in no way becoming of a cultured middle-class gentleman but I’m of Irish decent, born and raised in Essex and I learned Greek from the streets. I threw more than a few Փ’s in and demanded to speak to the mayor who was also unavailable for comment. So, I jumped on my trusty Vespa and buzzed down with murderous intent.
On arriving I was greeted by a nice lady who had all my details and was ready to pass me over to Ms. So-and-so who turned out to be a young nice lady, not at all offensive to the eye and was apologetic to the hilt offering the national mitigation of “well, this is Greece”. She explained that she didn’t know the criteria of the subsidy and she would simply be passing on the details to someone else, she wasn’t sure who this would be but that my application would be valid. I maintained a sustained level of aggression making it clear that I would not be fobbed off. She smiled in a please-don’t-hit-me type way and fobbed me off.

Some balls yesterday.










We’ll see…

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