Thursday, 11 December 2014

Tenth question of the 2014 Quiz of The Year.

tenth christmas tree. yes, cardboard!


I lost my driving licence.

I don’t know WHERE I lost it or even HOW – it just wasn’t there any more.

Or there.

Or there.

Not even in the place it was the LAST time I lost it.

I waited several months for it to come back, but it didn’t so, as an end of year resolution, I decided to get a replacement.

I went onto the French Governments web site, typed in ‘lost driving licence’ and read the sections entitled ‘steps to take’ and ‘documents to supply’ and made some notes on the back of an envelope.

Then I read it again, left it for a couple of more months and then I read it again.

Then I downloaded all the forms, made a coffee and sat at the kitchen table with my favourite black pen.

Fill in, fill, in photocopy, fill in, photocopy, fill in, search through kitchen drawer, photocopy and fill in.

Oh, I need a 25 euro Fiscal Stamp, something that probably only exists in France.

I remembered from some past misdemeanour that you can buy these in the tobacconists.

I drove to the nearest, an hour round trip walked in asked, got out my cheque book and heard – ‘We don’t take cheques’.

Drove home.

This morning I got up really early, I resisted the urge to lie in, drift back to sleep and ignore the world and drove to ‘that place’ where you have to take all the forms once you are ready.

‘That place’ was designed by an ex-nazi concentration camp commander that got a special deal for the furnishings from the secret police in a former soviet gulag.

I took my ticket from the ‘you-are-going-to-be-here-all-day’ machine and sat in the cold grey plastic slab that was once a chair used to break the will of rendered freedom-fighters as they were tortured.

An hour ticked past.

S   l             o w               l                     y.

Two lifetimes later my number clicked on the screen.

Hello.
Hello.
I lost my driving licence.
Form xxxxxxxxx?
Here it is.
Form xxxxxxxxxxxxy?
Here it is.
Form xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxp?
Here it is.
Identity papers?
Here.
Proof of residence?
Electricity bill?
Yes.
Here it is.
Fiscal stamps?
Here.
You need to fill this in.

What? It wasn’t on your web site under ‘documents you need’  - look (I showed her the envelope).

That’s why you shouldn’t go to the site, you should come here.

You can fill it in now – go over there on that slab of cold concrete and I’ll deal with some other sucker.

I went of, fill in, fill in fill in until I got to question 83.

Give details of how you lost your licence.

Was this a trick? I have no idea how, maybe someone found it and is selling forged versions on the black market that the police have already seized and are just waiting for me to write something like ‘dog ate it’ and put me in prison ‘cos I haven’t got a dog.

I wrote something about the rubbish bin, I thought that would cover all possibilities.

Hi it’s me, you sent me over to the mortuary slab.

Have you got a ticket?
I gave you it.
You need a new one.
But…
Just kidding.
Form xxxxxxxxx?
Here it is.
Form xxxxxxxxxxxxy?
Here it is.
Form xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxp?
Here it is.
Identity papers?
Here.
Proof of residence?
Electricity bill?
Yes.
Here it is.
Fiscal stamps?
Here.
Form I just made you fill in.
Here.
You shoudn’t have written anything in that box.
Sorry.
Two photos?
Here.
They’re too small.
Too small?
Too small.
I had them taken by the photographer in the village, especially.
Too small.
Really?
Go to the photomat and take some more.
Where’s the photomat?
Around the corner, I’ll serve someone else.

I went round the corner, along the corridor, down some stairs, up some stairs, out onto the street and into a disused garage.

There was a photocopier, a scanner and a photo mat.

The photomat  took 5 euro notes.

I only had a 50 euro note.

I went out of the garage, onto the street, down some stairs, up some stairs and along the corridor to the reception.

Can you change a 50 euro note?
No.

I left the building. And crossed the road. There was a bank.

The bank had security doors.

Press the buzzer, wait, enter, wait, press the buzzer, wait, press the buzzer again, wait, wave at the woman behind the desk the other side of the bullet proof, sound proof glass. She says something. I point at the buzzer. She says it again. Wait. Enter.

She is on the phone.

I sit and wait.

Time ticks away.

S
L
O
W
L
y.

Can I help you?
Yes I need a 5 euro note for the concentration camp over the road, can you change this 50 euro note?
Not normally no.
Smile.

She changed it – there you  go, see you soon.

That’s ominous.

I went back across the road, showed my passport, went along the corridor, down etc etc etc, took some photos.

Well, listened to 5 minutes of instructions – sit straight, don’t tilt your head, don’t smile (some chance), take off your glasses, if you can’t take off your glasses keep them on (?), don’t smile, make sure your head is in this circle, close your mouth, open your eyes, don’t smile.

Hello.
Hello. I lost my driving licence.
Have you got a ticket?
I gave it to you yesterday.
Ah, yes, Form xxxxxxxxx?
Here it is.
Form xxxxxxxxxxxxy?
Here it is.
Form xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxp?
Here it is.
Identity papers?
Here.
Proof of residence?
Electricity bill?
Yes.
Here it is.
Fiscal stamps?
Here.
Form I just made you fill in.
Here.
You shouldn’t have written anything in that box.
Sorry.
Two photos?
Here.
She laughed.

But she took them, stamped the form that I can show to the gendarmes when they stop me, and which would have been useful these past few months.

What happens next?
You have to wait.
How long?
Three weeks.
Will you send it?
No you have to come and get it.
Come here again?
Yes.
Will you contact me when it’s ready?
No.

And that was that.

In my opinion the Quiz of The Year is a WHOLE lot easier, just remember to use ‘labels’ for yesterday’s question.

Here’s today’s.

Mathematics - (but you’ll need the photos).
10) 4 Plus Coffee plus a nightingale equals ……..?

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