In the System

After circling the city block several times, I finally decided on a parking garage in the hopes that where I was actually going would become more clear on foot. After a harrowing experience in the most labyrinthine parking deck I found a space and followed some shady looking signs that thankfully led me to the street. After a few minutes of wandering around and muttering quietly to myself, I saw a large sign pointing me in the right direction.
I entered the building and found the door of the immigration assistance services. On it was printed a list of things I wasn't allowed, but I actually had in my bag including cell phone and camera. I walked in anyway to the most sterile room I had seen. Even more sterile than the MVA, at least they have some plants! There were only a couple of non employees there and I went to what looked like the main desk.
The, um, receptionist was as warm and inviting as a snake that you're not sure is poisonous. She made sure I had the appropriate documents and sent me to the other side of the room to sit in one of the chairs in several rows. There were no tables, no magazines; just a big red number on the wall to tell who was next. Luckily, that was me. A guy beckoned me over to his station and had me sit down while he entered numbers into his computer.
My cell phone rang and I almost fell off of my chair in an attempt to mute it. I looked around nervously, ready to justify myself. "Uh, I make that noise sometimes. It's totally normal and not a cell phone at all. I'm practicing for sound effect school, Brrrrring!"
Happily, I didn't have to go into an insane tirade and the scary guy just gave me a quick glance while I smiled at him dumbly.
Without exchanging a word between us, he had me stand beside him while he wiped my fingers with water and carefully, almost obsessively, scanned my fingerprints into his fancy computer.
It only took a few minutes and then he took my picture.
"Is it serious?" I asked him.
"You can smile, but no teeth."
"Ok. Mug shot it is."
He took the picture and showed it to me.
"Ooh, that is serious, isn't it?" I asked.
Then, he actually laughed.
He stamped my paper and sent me on my way.

I practically skipped out of the office in relief and on my way back to the garage spotted a FedEx store on the street. I dropped everything into the envelope, licked it, clasped it, and covered it with tape. I took a deep breath and dropped it into the box, putting it out of my hands.
By some miracle, I found the car and exited 36 minutes after I had arrived. Of course, the price went up after the first half hour.
I spent the rest of the day at a pub drinking beers with a couple of friends and watching the Man U. vs. Aresnal game in HD. It was awesome.

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