I went to America for the morning.
No, I haven’t discovered teleportation, I spent the morning at the US Embassy in an effort to be granted freedom from the chains of my criminal past in order to be able to visit American shores for real.
The embassy is in an enviable position overlooking Gloucester Square, under clear skies and the sun beaming down brightly. London at this time was slowly waking up as I strolled towards the embassy wearing my glasses so as to look more respectable in my plea for entry.
I joined the visa queue thankful for the weather after the website warned you have to wait outside in ALL WEATHERS. We queued like typical Brits and scowled at people pushing in the front of the queue.
We watched the action inside the security gate as one guard was twerking and pretending to slap another on the bum whilst we looked on. It was nice of him to entertain us while we waited but I would have been happier with them getting the queue moving.
We shuffled from reception to the waiting room, it wasn’t long til I had my first call to have my fingerprints taken, I worried about a paper cut after the website said “YOU WILL BE REFUSED IF YOU HAVE CUTS OR BLISTERS” Paper cuts are an office managers nemesis, luckily mine had sufficiently healed to allow me to pass this stage.
Then I waited for the next round, holding onto my allocated number 47 as the board reached number 200 wondering if my embassy worker was also busy twerking behind the scenes.
During this wait I learnt a lot about US culture since they bombarded us with tourist infomercials like “There’s More to Maine” And I felt confused as I know from She’s A Maineiac’s recent post that the slogan is “Yes, Life’s Good Here”
Well, which is it? Is there More to Maine or is Life simply Good there? They had a lighthouse, and a man fishing with his son and some Autumnal trees. I tried making mental notes of everything as if I would be challenged on them later – “What colour was the lighthouse in Maine, or how many fish had the man caught?” as their hand hovers over the DECLINED stamp.
Next up was Alaska, they had bears.
The next feature was about immigrants, they asked normal, everyday, run of the mill, bog standard Americans their thoughts. The first replied “I like ’em” Which was the general consensus.
We then learnt about Chinese people and how they struggled to find their identity in America. “I struggled to find my identity in America” one said. On the one hand he’s an American now but on the other he can’t forget his Chinese heritage. His solution was to write a comic book about a Chinese person in America. I figured Marvel or DC wouldn’t come calling any day soon.
Finally, right before I lost the will to live, I caught a final vox pop asking normal, everyday, run of the mill, bog standard Americans to name the 50 states, one guy managed 12.
Uninspired by what was on offer via the TV screen, I glanced around the room seeing who I could analyse for my entertainment, I caught eye of a young guy who had made an effort to look smart but obviously never wears a shirt and trousers since the shirt was hanging out, his tie badly knotted and he wore white trainers. He was pretty much a chav.
Over trots a girl, ironed hair and make up exploded over her face, she sits in the same row and he immediately makes a beeline for her and they strike up a conversation. I say conversation but they spoke in text speak like much of today’s youth. Though I did hear them comparing holidays they had been on, “Napa” not, not the Napa Valley American’s, this was Aiya Napa, where teenagers go to have sex with strangers and get hopelessly drunk.
She coyly twirled her hair in her fingers as she listened to him regale her with a yarn about his reason for a visa which was for a scholarship he had been given for being a sports superstar. Then he had us on the edge of our seat with his drinking adventure the night before as he only got home at 4am and had to get up at 5am for the visa interview. I listened to this fantastical storyteller for a while, before I ascertained he was there due to a criminal record like myself. I pondered what misdemeanor he had made and its seriousness compared to mine to determine who would have been whose prison bitch as a result. (I never went to prison by the way, just in case you wondered)
I was eventually called for my interview, this lasted the briefest of moments whereby an embassy worker who had his personality vacuumed out earlier that day, questioned me on my past offence. Recalling the raid by the police on the pub that led to my arrest half my life ago. “Why did the police raid the pub” he questioned. This struck me as an odd question, why would I be privy to the undercover operations of the police force? Frankly I was more concerned with stripping naked and having my orifices explored than worrying what reason they had raiding that establishment.
It was over very quickly as I waited with bated breath on the verdict, mainly so I could decide which brand of bear spray to pack for a trip to New York City. “We are recommending you for a visa….” he continued “the verdict will be decided in 5-6 months”.
Bureaucracy at work.