I got into New York last Saturday and went to the consulate on Monday to pick up my visa. Instead of the familiar black dude working the reception, there was an even more familiar cookie-cut, ageless Czech bureaucratess manning the helm. I gave her the old dobrý den and hit the button ‘picking up visa’ to get my number. Just before my finger hit the button, she started yelling in Czech, “No! No! No! You have to sign in FIRST! AND you hit the wrong button!” She got on the phone and put the whole consulate on alert that I had made a mistake. “That was a MISTAKE! He made a mistake! Forget it! Ignore it! Mistake!” she barked and bawled. “Sorry,” I said and signed the register. She hit the button ‘picking up passport’ and gave me a new number.
But I wasn’t picking up a passport, I thought. She then had to deal with a delivery that she was making unnecessarily complicated for everyone involved and the consulate was about to close, but it was quite a few prosíms before I could get her attention and explain that although there was nothing I’d like better than to skip the whole visa thing and go straight for the citizenship, I should probably just get my visa and be on my way – which I did!
I flew up to Burlington on Thursday and took the ferry to Plattsburgh whence I’m writing now. We made a quick trip to Montréal on Friday and now mother and I are off in a couple of hours to visit the rest of the family in the Leatherstocking Region of the Mohawk River Valley, before I return to Middletown briefly, not to spawn, but to bowl with Sherman. I’m back in NYC on Wednesday and leave for Prague the following Monday, arriving Tuesday morning.
I’m exhibiting a series of abstract photos along with nine other photographers on Wednesday, June 3 at the Czech Inn on Francouzská from 18 – 20h. Hope to see you all there! Free glass of wine and snacks! Here’s the flyer: