Questura Tales – Part 4

Well, one can’t expect to have a good experience at the Questura more often than once in a lifetime. Things were bad again yesterday. I arrived at 8:00 as usual, but it didn’t open until nearly 9:00. There seemed to be more people than usual. I had an appointment, but there was only a date, not an hour. They only had two windows open, and things went very slowly. The man who calls numbers seemed to be in a particularly bad mood. He kept opening the door a crack and telling everyone to stand back from the door. Unfortunately, he was always ignored, because nobody believed him that he was going to call them in. People were constantly elbowing up to the front to ask him questions and receive vague, noncommittal responses. The best moment was when a nice young woman from Moldavia finally asked in exasperation, “But could you please just at least explain to us how the system works?” The door closed as she finished her question, and a grizzled old Albanian replied, “I’ll tell you in two words how it works: ‘very badly’.” By eleven-thirty so few people had entered that all of us waiting outside were convinced that none of us were ever going to get in the door.


Just at the moment of extreme despair, the Questura man opened the door again and said that now things would go very quickly. In fact, he even promised that all of us would get in for our appointments. This was bizarre. There was no obvious reason that everything should suddenly change. None of us believed him at all. But for some reason, all of a sudden, things did go faster. At a quarter to twelve (supposedly they close at noon) I was finally ushered in. The rest of it took only twenty minutes, and I was done! I need to go pick up the completed Permesso in a month or two. But I can now legally live with my husband in Italy. Whew! Now I can get down to the business of actually living in Italy.

One thought on “Questura Tales – Part 4

  • September 27, 2010 at 5:06 am
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    This sounds a lot like the DOL (department of licensing) offices here in Washington. You get a number and they go in order, so it seems straight forward, but…. Just when it gets close to being your turn, all the employees will start leaving on breaks, so the line will start taking 10 times longer than it did before. When they come back from breaks, they'll answer the phone and straighten their desk and do anything they can to keep from opening their line again. And, they have different number series for different things, so one of the employees maybe doing the 200's and you have 207, but as soon as the employee gets to 205, he'll switch to 700's for some random reason. Then the other employees that are handling 200's will suddenly get these majorly time-consuming people and time will tick and you will wait and wait… Then when the employees finish with the time consuming people, the employees will go on break. And you're sure the office will end up closing and you'll have to come back tomorrow (and get a new number and start the whole thing over again). Or you think maybe you've entered the Twilight Zone and will be there forever, and then it will be your turn and you'll be so grateful, you'll smile and thank the surely employee who has been moving at a slower-than-a-snail's pace and really should be fired.

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