So last week, was it really just last week? That’s a farce. Anyway, last Wednesday I had to go to Chicago to get my work visa for China. I was already Not looking forward to this trip because as all Midwesterners know, Chicago in January is a roulette wheel of misery. But, my Side Thug and all around bad ass, Maye, said she’d come with me so things were looking up.
So at 6am I picked Maye up and we started the three hour drive to Chicago. And as we usually do, we filled the time with spirited conversation about sexism, racism, dismantling the hyper-masculine patriarchy, and Star Wars.
After about fifteen tolls—seriously, Chicago, WTF—we finally made it to downtown Chicago and after twenty minutes of dodging jaywalkers, cyclists, construction, other cars, and one way streets we decided we’d park at Walgreens. I needed to get a passport photo taken to add to my visa application and since GPS was telling us we were right on top of the consulate we’d ask for directions, too.
Turns out, the consulate was one block away and contrary to what Hollywood told us, it does not have a bunch of flags and armed guards. It’s on the fifth floor of a business building between a bank and a nail salon. So, with photos and directions in hand we left the car at Walgreens and headed down the block to turn in my application.
Now, according to the consulate’s website, they have same-day visa service and in regards to the application they just say to make sure it’s completely filled out.
I get up there and pass my application through and the man shakes his head and pushes it back. “Must be typed.” He points to a sign hanging next to the window.
Effective July 2013, all applications must be typed.
So Maye and I leave and while I’m trying to figure out how the fuck I’m going to type my application and print it out when I don’t have my computer with me, we stopped by a little bistro to eat and strategize. And that’s when I remembered the Kinkos we passed. Yes.
After eating, I jogged down to Kinkos and had to wait a few minutes while the three people at the computers also typed up documents for the Chinese consulate. And after I finished typing and printing everything, two other people came in also trying to beat the clock and get their documents typed and turned in before the consulate closed at noon.
I slid in at 11:50 and made it up to the window to turn in my application. Nailed it. Everything looked fine. “Is it too late for me to do the same-day express service?” I asked.
“We don’t do that.” She points to a sign hanging next to the window. “You can pick up Friday.”
Effective January 2014, we no longer offer same-day service.
So I grab Maye and we head back to Walgreens after a very long morning that, for me, started at 4:30am.
Annnnnd. My car’s not there.
So we go inside to ask where the fuck my car is. The lady, who gave us directions to the consulate, points to a sign.
If you are not inside Walgreens you cannot park in Walgreens parking lot. You will be towed.
Seriously, lady? We asked about the consulate, pretty sure I said right fucking in front of you, “It’s not far, let’s just walk.” You couldn’t pay it even a little forward and point this out. I hope you never have a straight weave for the rest of your life and your fucking nails crack. Fuck you.
So I’m pissed and have to call a cab because of course the tow company is on the other side of the goddamn city. But our cabbie was nice and we spent the twenty minute ride bitching about Chicago parking. Apparently, he dropped someone off at the airport just before Christmas and was nice enough to help them with their bags. When he came out, there was a boot on his car.
Seriously, Chicago. Fuck you.
It was actually a very pleasant cab experience. I’ve never ridden in a cab and the guy being super nice helped calm me from Megatron Rage to Vader Displeasure. And that he waited to make sure the tow guy was there before driving off was also really nice of him.
Almost two hours after dropping my application off at the consulate, I finally got my fucking car back and we could leave Chicago.
The best part of that rage inducing day was that we made it back to Indiana in time to meet Maye’s husband at a theater and we saw Star Wars before I headed home.