The Action Machine Diary, Day 6

by JL Beeken on 8-19-2010

The Action MachineThere’s the paperwork of the dead and then, there’s the paperwork of the living.

Yesterday I was on a roll with The Action Machine and the READ ME files, going into the second hour, just beetling along feeling confident to get through another two hours of other tasks. I had just finished a long document, was in the middle of printing out two pages when my 7-year old printer decided to die. I only print a few pages per year so I don’t know what its problem was all of a sudden.

A long time ago, a lamp fell off the bookcase and a light bulb shattered sending glass shards for miles. It’s possible a piece was floating around in the back of the printer and finally worked its way into the innards. I suppose. Or maybe it just died of old age.

Once again, something technological eats into my day. Not something useful but something that requires me to go downtown and spend more money and more time.

This is not going to cause me to have a breakdown. I’m just shining a light of Awareness on how this type of thing goes on chronically and relentlessly.

Today I finally received a letter from the Canadian government I’ve been waiting over 8 months for, a copy of my Landed Immigrant document. Which I need in order to get back into Canada anytime I leave. This, I was told, would suffice as an alternative to a Permanent Resident’s Card.

I’ve lived in Canada full-time since 1967. The Canadian government knows all kinds of things about who I am. I am not a mystery. I think, after 43 years, they could just put my photo in their computer and whenever they see me they could smile and wave and say, “Hey, fellow-Canadian!, How’s it going? Been across the border for a day or two? Give us a second here to look up your Non-Existent Criminal Record again and Welcome Home!”

In order to get a Permanent Resident’s Card there are reams of forms to fill out, photos to be taken in a specified size, money to be sent. It’s a daunting process that goes on and on and on. Nevertheless, I was psyching myself up for this.

Until I got to the last page of requirements. After the card is finally produced it can only be picked up in person. For me that means a minimum of 5 days of traveling to validate myself, by my physical presence, at the nearest specified government office. I might as well go by dog-sled and enjoy the great outdoors while I’m at it.

I got on the phone and was immediately reassured by an Immigration Official that I did not have to go through that; Canada is a very big place and not everyone lives a short hop away from a CIC office. (No kidding.) All I had to do was get a copy of my Landed Immigrant Record and I was good to go.

I gathered up the paperwork, printed it all out, read the instructions, sweated over getting every detail correct and sent it off with my money. And today, eight and half months later, the precious document arrived. A one-page bad photocopy and a page of instructions. On the instructions, it clearly states:

This document can not be used to travel.

Only the permanent resident card (PR card) can be used to travel. It is a wallet-sized, plastic status card that replaces the ….”

Just a moment, please, to compose myself. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

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