14 May 2003

My day

The INS has been renamed the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Since immigration comes before citizenship, they probably should have been the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services, but I imagine someone saw the obvious problem with that. (“Twenty Muslim men were rounded up by the DICS last night in San Francisco.”)

Immigration is also now part of the Department of Homeland Security. Hence we have the deliciously ironic situation of the JFK Federal Building housing the Department of Homeland Security. Tell that to Jackie.

Anyway, I turned up at around 09:00 and stood in line for an hour to be handed a small piece of paper with a number on it—in my case, 465. Then I went out to the forms people to get an I-89. The I-89 is for photographs and fingerprints. It’s quite a long and detailed form, but fortunately I wasn’t expected to fill it out. Instead, I had a fingerprint imprinted on each side, and was told to sign the statement at the bottom saying that all the above information was correct. Apparently they fill in the actual information for me later.

My next task was to take the blank form back to the first room. However, instead I snuck upstairs to the JFK cafeteria for coffee and a chocolate chip muffin. In retrospect, I probably should have had lunch there as well, because when I came back down at around 10:30 my day was just beginning.

It was 14:25 when they finally reached #465. I handed over my blank piece of paper, two photos and the letter they’d sent me. They stamped my passport. That was it, so by 14:30 I was outside, light headed from lack of food, walking through downtown Boston looking up at the tall buildings, trying to come to terms with the fact that in some vague yet official sense I now belong here.

I got some curry, then the T to Lechmere to head to work. On the way through the mall I picked up a creme de fleur and coffee from Au Bon Pain, because I felt I deserved it. There wasn’t much time left for actual work, and Glenn had thoughtfully arranged a meeting to occupy most of it, so before long I was wandering home, still dazed. The curry had done its work, and I was sleepier than a koala that’s just switched to decaf.

So, here I am. I have to pay taxes, and they can make me die on the front lines in a war, but they don’t want to let me vote. I suppose it’s a bit like being black.

© mathew 2017