I’m going to try to get this post out because I think it’s important that I do (sadly more for me for memory purposes than for you, whom I usually try to entertain). Unfortunately I am working on 4 ½ hours of sleep (more on that later) so as much as I want to write a concise recount of yesterday my mind is tending to slip into a monotone whine of, “I’m so tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired.” This post might not make any sense but I’m too tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired to proofread it so expect an apology post later. This is actually a bit dangerous since I’m dyslexic and I tend to misspell words, leave bits of sentences out all together or my personal favorite, substitute one word for another. If I happen to have a sentence below that reads: “Sitting in a char I was that only one getting a pizza” please self translate that to: “Sitting in a chair I realized I was the only one getting a visa.”
SO! Yesterday I went for my biometrics appointment. This account is not going to serve much purpose to anyone who isn’t getting their UK visa in Southern California, though I can’t imagine your personal account will be too much different. It is, at its heart, dealing with US Government employees.
Andy prepped me the night before telling me that the best place to park was in the back of the building in Santa Ana. He said that there was underground parking but depending on the time of day, parking in the back was only $1-2 dollars, if not free. I didn’t have any cash on me, so I stole two bucks from his wallet in preparation. The next day I managed to find the building and back of building parking just fine but I was a little dismayed that the parking attendant informed me that it was $1 per 20 minutes. Although the parking attendant was very flirty, he still wasn’t able to tell me how long this fingerprinting was going to take nor could he move me to the front of the line as much as I batted my eyelashes. I had a few quarters in my car so I decided to risk parking there anyhow. It was fingerprinting – seriously, how long does that take?
Cool, but nothing like the fingerprinting they did.
Walking in, the security guard asked me if I had a cell phone or other recording device (no) and checked me in. That is, he circled a number on a sheet of paper and told me to wait in the back row of chairs. That is important by the way – you must sit in the back row of chairs or else you will get yelled at (I may or may not know this by experience). The whole basis of this office’s sorting system is where you are sat.
While sitting in the back row, you have to wait for the receptionist to get back from his lunch or taking a crap or getting a pedicure or where ever the fuck he was for 20 minutes ($1!) so that he can stamp your biometrics appointment confirmation sheet and give you a ticker-tape number which at first you are happy to realize is only 13 numbers away from the current number until you realize that it take them 5 minutes to get through each number. (That may be a run on sentence. Fuck it. ) You are then instructed to sit in the first or 2nd row of chairs. Please don’t sit in the back row as you will get yelled at. Please also don’t announce “for fuck’s sake!” when you are asked to move from the back row to the 1st or 2nd rows while giving a sarcastic look and a sarcastic thumbs up to the security guard because they might not let you leave or they might take away your passport. Most likely though, it will just make sitting there a bit more uncomfortable when you realize how much of an asshole you’ve just been.
The only type of "thumbs up" you should do at your Biometrics appointment
I continued to wait in the first row of chairs for another hour ($3!). During my hour I quickly realized that I was the only one there who was attempting to get a visa to get the hell out of this country instead of trying to get a green card in order to stay. Of course, I may have changed a few of the immigrants minds by announcing, “for fuck’s sake!” when all I had to do was sit in a different row of chairs.
After all of time and eternity (I’m happy to announce I had a healthy baby girl who has since grown up and gone to college, as well as three boys via Emmanuel who I was sitting next to in row #1) my number was finally called. They took my fingerprints and a photo (my hair, I might add, looked FANTASTIC before I went in – after an hour of getting yelled at for chair rows it turned into a flat mess) and I was free to go. 3 minutes. That’s all it took. Well, an hour and 23 minutes.
This was more like it actually was. I'd like to congratulate the guy who managed to get a camera in past security.
By the way, I only had $4 total in quarters but I flirted my way with the parking attendant to let the last dollar slide. I’m not proud of this and I certainly felt a bit dirty afterward but sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do when she doesn’t have the last fucking dollar to pay for parking.
Having the very last piece of documentation I needed to submit my paperwork to the British Consulate in Los Angeles (which was the Biometrics Appointment Sheet stamped), I rushed to the mailing services and posted my package for overnight. Now begins the Great Wait where I do nothing except worry that I fucked something up on my paperwork and have to do the whole thing over again. Which brings us to my 4 ½ hours of sleep…
I woke up at 3 o’clock last night with the sudden thought that the passport picture I gave them was too big. I don’t know why this popped in my head, but there it was. I analyzed it over and over – mentally comparing the size of my face against all the other passport photos I’ve ever had - and convinced myself that my gigantic head would never meet the strict rules and regulation posted by the British National Passport Picture Nazis. When I finally talked myself down and realized I was being paranoid, I was wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep. I’m so tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired.