If you couldn’t tell by the title, welcome to what will be one of the saltiest posts on this blog! Because if there’s anything the entirety of TAPIF can agree on, it’s the malfunctioning of French administration. Long story short: non-European assistants are required to report to OFII (L’office de l’immigration et de l’intégration) for a medical checkup and a fancy sticker that lets you officially stay in France for more than 3 months. Except that France decided to schedule ~15 of us (and this doesn’t include the roomful of Mexican assistants who, let’s be honest, were probably last because of racism) for the exact same times. Because, you know, staggering the appointments would have made too much sense, and nothing in France is ever logical. Or on time.
I’ll leave you with this timeline that explains exactly how French administration doesn’t function:
12:38pm: Tried to arrive early. Got a call from S saying that the office was closing for lunch.
1:00: Our scheduled medical appointment time. Office is closed.
1:10: A flood of Americans and Canadians pile in.
1:41: Alphabetical order discrimination. I finally get called for the x-ray.
2:00: Our scheduled sticker appointment time. I still haven’t seen the doctor.
2:03: I text St “Yepp,” only to have it autocorrect to “Help.” That pretty much sums up the experience.
3:12: Spent about ten minutes in the doctor’s office. Didn’t even have an eye exam. Had her judge the hell out of my weight. Wow, I’m sorry I’ve been skinny my entire life? Call me malnourished, that’s fine.
3:31: Arrive at the other building. (After being stranded outside because the button to open the gate didn’t work. Typical. My unexpected savior was a random woman leaving the gated complex.)
4:00: Four of us are bemoaning our fates. Lady working finally hangs up the phone. One assistant misses her train.
Highlights: Amiens’s marché de noël, meeting other assistants, sharing salt, bonding with other POC over mutual saltiness towards white people, and poutine and churros.