Anmelde

Again, we stroll along the Karl Marx Straße until we reach the Rathaus Neukölln, where we need to register and obtain a “Anmeldungsbestätigung? from the “Bürgeramt.? I was told to obtain one by an employee of the Volksbank Verein, so for the sake of ease we enter the mill of bureaucracy with a glimpse of hope that it will be an experience and that it won’t be too bad, after all it concerns only a single, apparently simple procedure. At first, I enjoy the initial dealings with the red tape, asking which department to go to, explaining my situation and purpose, verifying the procedure I believe needing to follow. The hollow echo of my voice and footsteps resonate in the long corridors of the “Rathaus?.

At last, we reach the “Bürgeramt? and walk into the passage where closed door after closed door the red tape procedures unfold. In the middle of the hallway, a door stands open and offers the gruesome sight of the “Warteraum? in which ten lines of six wooden chairs are all occupied by mostly dark skinned, Turkish inhabitants, crowding the room, and at the high beeping sound of the electronic indicator, as number by number switches, look upward at the wall. I reluctantly choose my counter from “Anmelde?, “Bürgeramt? and “Lohnsteuer.? I pick “Anmelde,? take a last glance at the electronic indicator that shows the number 227, and draw my number. A friendly buzz spits out my number: 497. I am shocked, only half comprehending the enormous line ahead of me, and sit down. I am resigned, after all I can read wherever I am, it doesn’t have to be a waste of my time. But as time passes, the absurdity imposes itself. My detached calm gives in to my reasoning persuading my resignation to resist, and ultimately I get up and walk out.

I leave the “Rathaus? and walk southward down Karl Marx Straße toward the “T-Punkt?, the service shop of Deutsche Telekom.
There is a certain joy that I undergo, practicing my German, a joy I always undergo from any learning experience. Arranging practical affairs like getting a telephone and internet connection, or for that matter being grinded by the bureaucratic cogwheels, certainly forms a enjoyable learning experience for me at this point. That my German is obviously littered with mistakes does not prevent it, and I can at least without hesitation make clear what it is I need. A “Termin? is set for May 27.

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