Up at six o’clock in the morning today. Plenty of time for my morning rituals and at 8 o’clock sharp I climbed the stairs of the employment office, straight to the second floor, where the hundred or so of misérables had been queueing last friday. There was nobody now. I entered the office the door of which was slightly ajar. A young girl was sitting at a desk. Nobody else. Upon my inquiring if she spoke English, she hesitated and then admitted, almost reluctantly or so it seemed, to doing so. I explained my case and she answered in perfect English with no accent whatsoever that I would have to come back at nine o’clock, since “there was nobody there now”. When I put all my charm in pointing out that she was there and that I was more than pleased with her presence, and would she please put a little stamp on the form so that we could both be on our way with the rest of our lives, she didn’t even smile, but repeated that I would have to come back after nine o’clock. It is a tough moment for a man when he realizes that his charm with the opposite sex does no longer does it’s magic as it used to do. Alas, sic transic gloria mundi. Exit me.
Back in the hallway, while waiting for the elevator, I had a stroke of genius, if I say so myself, honestly. Why not try my friends (see the previous episode) at the 4th floor? Instead of going down I pushed the button to the fourth floor. In the office there were 4 or 5 people having an early morning meeting or just gathered for a nice round of gossiping with a warm cup of coffee, I don’t know. I started explaining my case once more, in Greek this time, totally ignoring that at least one of these people sitting here had told me on Friday that I would have to go to the second floor. They all did their speak, most of which I didn’t understand, hence completely ignored. It was all about them not being either qualified, or in the mood, or authorized or what-did-I-care. I had the focus of a hawk now, all I wanted was a stamp, and I wanted it without returning in one hour. I figured I had paid more than my dues the previous week. So I kept smiling at them encouragingly, inviting them to take action, uttering totally incomprehensible greek words that made no sense probably. Finally the only man in the company took the forms, looked at them, said something to the person sitting next to him, she handed him a pen, and he started signing the 5 copies, without so much as giving me one look, while the lady next to him subsequently put a stamp onto them. There. Done. Thirty seconds of work, three minutes of talking. I thanked all of them, wishing them a nice weekend, knowing quite well that it was only wednesday, and ignored their laughing when I was out on the stairs.