Why do the forces of the universe find a joyless satisfaction in allowing a human being to become ill on the first day off work ?
Is it something we’ve done ? The looks ? The fact of our mere existence ?
Coughing, wheezing, sweating in the cold Eastern, I dragged my sore body – and the pounding head ! – over the groundless Franconian paths, slippery from treacherous mud and dirt, towards the big grey house where the authority dwells, embodied in my old nemesis, Miranda the evil dwarf.
When I first entered this crumbling building years ago and wandered through its endless corridors that look and smell like dried up pea soup, I was confronted with this gerbil like creature in the Bureau for Peasant’s Affairs. But gerbils have a soul, emotions, they even feel friendliness. Miranda the evil dwarf hated all and everything, himself, the job, the peasants. So he was the natural choice for the first desk opposite the entrance to the dimly lid file storage room that he controlled by miasmatic disdainfulness, you could have sawed blocks out of it …
To my amazement the steely stare I switched on before stepping over the threshold fell on a robust youngish woman. I noticed that the room was distinctly brighter, I was offered a chair ! Miranda seemingly is retired, maybe he kicked the bucket or simply vanished in the cellar to everybody’s relief. He took with him the nineteenhundredthirty’s ameublement, the pus coloured curtains, and the smell of fear & despair I remembered so well.
The young woman nevertheless interrogated me about personal details, like my hight (no idea), the colour of my eyes (changes, but there is always green in it), and put special emphasis on my nationality (“Coburgian”, what was dismissed). I never held two different passports, and – that was new to me – never served in foreign regular forces, thus acquiring a second nationality.
In front of me on the desk was a little thing like a tablet, like something you find in a shop, where you put the money down. It turned out to be a tablet and there I was shown the forms she had filled out, was asked to read through and control the details, and signed it with a stylo. I asked, it is a valid signature.
The new ID-card comes in the form of a cheque card size plastic piece with an embedded chip that stores my personal data and, if I allow it, the fingerprints of both forefingers (no way !). It also allows my identification online, valid for legal transactions ; but for this I’d need special soft~ and hardware, particularly a reader for the ID card.
I relinquished this functionalities, simply because I could not figure out circumstances in which I would need this. I avoid online-transactions generally, and can not think of a situation where I would need valid identification for a legally binding transaction via web – like … what ? Buying a house – no, I want a contract on paper and see who signs it. Opening an account at this respected Russian bank on The Caymans ? There are specialists for this, and again, you must see a person – hence you know whom to shoot when you are ruined …
The lady checked the photographic portrait I had acquired for expensive money, looked at it a bit quizzical, but it did fit into some scheme she used, and she glued it on a form. I payed my thirty Euro, one last signature (“This is the one that will be on the card.”), and that was it.
They send the whole stuff digitally to Berlin, the Bundesdruckerei (not G&D, I asked the lady, and she was firm about this : they cheated) will start the press, and sometime after Easter I will have a new, valid ID-card.
I went back through gardens of budding blossoms, cheered up by the distant laughter of children, wiping the image of an ugly mean dwarf from my memory.