Villa Beausoleil

The current state of the world, plus recipes...

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Location: Boston, MA

I try to keep up with the news, obsessively read my favorite blogs and try not to burn things while I'm surfing the internet...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Our Government at Work

Here's another story about how our government is spending its resources in the War on Terra.... I got married in August. My husband is French. One week before the wedding, his French family and best friend arrived from France for the wedding. Because of the numbers arriving, he and I drove in two vehicles to the airport to pick them up. We waited outside that imposing wall between customs check and the excited greeters, craning our necks every time the automatic doors opened, to see if his family was coming. Finally, his mother, sister, brother, and two nieces came out, and we had a happy family reunion. Since we knew his best friend had caught the same flight, we waited for him. And waited... and waited... After an hour and half, and with no official on the outside to ask, I suggested that I take the drooping girls in my car to their hotel, and my fiance and his brother could wait for Pierre (NOTE: all names have been changed to protect the innocent). We loaded up the car, and the girls and I headed out of the airport parking lot. Just as we got to the exit, where I was about to insert the parking voucher in machine to open up the barrier, my cell phone rang. Luckily, I answered, and the following conversation ensued.... "Hello?" "Is this Rachel Morris?" "Yes?" "This is Peter Jackson of United States Immigration. Where are you?" You can imagine my surprise and confusion at this point. I had a slight moment of panic that my fiance's green card was about to be revoked. "I'm in the airport parking lot. Why?" "Haven't you forgotten someone? Someone by the name of Pierre Marquis?" "NO! I'm taking the girls to the hotel! We waited so long.... ! My fiance is waiting with his brother for Pierre in the terminal! What's going on?" Meanwhile, there are cars lining up behind us, and I'm hesitating to insert the ticket in the machine, in case we have to go back... "Are you getting married?" "Yes! In a week! That's why everyone is here! What's going on??" "Is Pierre here for the wedding?" "Yes..." "How long is he staying?" "I don't know exactly, I think he's staying until a couple of days after the wedding, why?? Should I come back? What do you want us to do?" "No, no, we'll let him go in minute. Thank you very much..." Click. So we exit the parking lot, swing back around to the terminal, and I dispatch my fiance's sister to run inside, find my fiance, and tell him Pierre is about to be released. She couldn't find them at first, because (of course!) they were in the airport bar! Finally, we head out towards the city, and my cell phone rings again. It's my sister, who's waiting at my house (she and her boyfriend Jack had arrived from Australia for the wedding just a few days before). "Rache?" "Yes?" "Did you get a call from Peter Jackson?" "YES!!" "He called here asking for you! Luckily Jack answered the phone while I was doing laundry in the basement..." And then she recounted the following conversation... "Hello?" "This is Peter Jackson of United States Immigration. May I speak with Rachel Morris, please?" "I'm sorry, she's not at home at the moment." "To whom am I speaking?" "This is Jack." (Puzzled tone of voice) "And my I ask your relationship to Rachel?" "I'm her sister's boyfriend from Australia, we just flew in..." "Is Rachel getting married?" At this point, Jack had his own moment of panic. Not knowing my fiance's immigration status, he wasn't sure if he should be truthful or not -- luckily, that was only a split second of indecision... "YES! That's why we're all here. She and her fiance are at the airport to pick up his family right now..." "Well, we have a crazy Frenchman here.... " "Oh! That would be Pierre!" This is the point in the story where everyone who knows Pierre, bursts out laughing... Of course, Jack has never met Pierre, but after hearing stories, he managed to say just the right thing with that impromptu outburst! At this point, Jack gave Peter Jackson my cell phone number, and PJ thanked him for being so helpful... Pierre's story: Pierre is scared of flying. By the time the plane landed, he was three sheets to the wind... At Immigration, he began muttering to himself about all the frickin' forms he had to fill out, after having filled out the same forms on the plane... He said something under his breath to the effect of "Fricking forms... fricking immigration... bureaucracy... you'd think I was a terrorist or something.... mutter, mutter, mutter... " At which point, a French-speaking immigration official hauled him off to a back room to meet Peter Jackson. They grilled him on why he was here, why he had travelled to the US twice in the past year, where he was staying, where I lived, etc. etc.... Being Pierre, he didn't know my address, only the name of the neighborhood I lived in, my subway stop, and that my house is green and on a corner. He also didn't know my phone number, but found a phone number on a scrap of paper that turned out to be mine. Being Pierre, he just figured that if we weren't at the airport to meet him, he'd take the train and meander over to our house. I don't doubt that he was a teeny bit belligerent at this point, since they'd confiscated a precious can of veal stock that he had brought in order to cook us up a feast... (Mad Cow, you know. Never mind that there's Mad Cow in the US, but not in France.) You'll be glad to know that Pierre managed to put together a gourmet meal or two without the veal stock, the wedding was a glorious success, and Pierre is even coming back to visit us next summer with his teenage son. This time, however, we'll be prepared. We've bought a little tent and camp stove, and we've already staked out our spot in the airport terminal....

3 Comments:

Blogger faeriebell said...

Wow, what a story. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Will you be going through the whole I-130 process with your husband? Good luck, I just finished up with it and it is indeed a lesson in government beaurcracy!

8:12 PM  
Blogger faeriebell said...

I just re-read your post and saw that you have already gotten married. My congrats, and I'm sorry for my confusion, as well as for the double commenting on two of your posts. oops. :)

8:21 PM  
Blogger rebmarks said...

Faeriebell --
We don't need to go through the I-130 process because my husband had already received a green card unrelated to our marriage. We are in the process of filling out citizenship forms, though...
Thanks for the congrats! We spent our honeymoon in Spain and France, and are still recuperating from all the good food....

10:48 AM  

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