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.