Today we tried our luck again with the papers needed for my Permesso. We did fax our question in and wonder of wonders, someone called us back finally. The answer is that they simply want a piece of paper from the Anagrafe (the city office that deals with residency questions and lots more) that says I live at the same address as Leif. And that, according to our last visit there, will cost us a mere 15 euros and the time needed to wait in their office for our number to pop up.
Amazingly we had a short wait at the office AND what are the odds that out of 15 desks we would get the same exact woman who helped us last week? We should buy lottery tickets.
She did have to think carefully about the wording of this document. After one short consultation with the woman at the next desk they came up with a way to say that only Leif was attesting to my address. They were simply putting their rubber stamp on it (numerous times in fact) to show that in front of them he signed the document that states we share the same address. It's also printed on official paper with a special background which by the way doesn't show up on copies. Side note: no one here wants to touch your originals. There are big signs in many of the offices to be sure to have copies of all your documents as they will not accept originals.
Once we had that paper we could head back to the Questura, with a little side stop to make the necessary copy. We stopped at the uniformed man who was actually pleasant today and got our number and headed into the main room to see how long we had to wait. Our number was D446 and we looked at the monitor hoping for a short wait. "Holy crap!" I said. Really I did. The number on the screen was D445. We were pretty much going to walk in and walk right to the window. Screw the lottery...where does one go to gamble significant amounts of money in Europe??
And then it gets even stranger, because as we were watching D445 deal with the paperwork for what appeared to be his four wives a man stepped up to the window next to him and asked if we were waiting for a Permesso. The day was seriously verging on weird now. Things were going too smoothly. Wheels were mysteriously greased. I tried valiantly to maintain my skepticism for a system that has let me down more than lifted me up but it was hard. I almost smiled.
I was hoping that we would be able to have an exchange of documents, like a hostage exchange, but no. He disappeared into a back room with our newly minted "swear on a stack of Bibles we live together" statement and returned with a grim look on his face. I wondered what office he was going to send us to, and what we would have to do there. Were there going to be more documents to sign, probably in blood this time?
He apologized. Whoa. That never happens. Actually, he asked to be excused for what he was going to tell us, which here kind of amounts to the same thing. I held my breath for a moment. He said that my Permesso wasn't ready yet. But, it would be ready on Friday morning. No more papers. No more questions. Just bring my receipt on Friday morning and my Permesso will be waiting there for me. The almost apology was because he knows I was told that it would be ready last Friday but obviously here we are at the following Wednesday and it isn't ready yet.
We didn't stick around to hear more and once we left the window I didn't look back. I learned that lesson last week. We left the Questura maintaining an outward calm but I know I was doing a small and hopefully inconspicuous happy dance inside. I don't want to seem to be celebrating too early, that just brings out the gremlins that cause trouble. We had a coffee and tried to talk the extra adrenaline out. We had gone in prepared for battle and ended up shooting through the system like a greased pig. It was great, but a little frustrating all the same.
We were halfway home before it hit me. I laughed out loud and Leif looked at me with that one raised eyebrow. "It'll be ready on Friday morning, right?" I asked. He nodded. I laughed again and said "That's Friday the 13th." What are the odds? I think I'll hold off on those lottery tickets.
Well played, Italy. Well played.