There’s no reason to worry, I try to reason. You’ve already gone through this before.
Right, as if past success guarantees anything with French Bureaucracy.
You might remember that we’re having some troubles with FB regarding our taxes (still unresolved). So you’ll excuse me if sudden swells of anxiety overtake me as I prepare all of my papers for Tuesday. That’s the day my husband and I will march down to the Ile de la Cite and pray that they’ll see fit to renew my carte de sejour.
They probably will (do not jinx it! my brain shouts as I write that), but I’m sure you understand the feeling.
It doesn’t help that I’ve just finished reading an article in Le Monde – first-hand testimonials – of French citizens having trouble renewing their national identity card. That’s right. French citizens. Renewing. Their national identity card.
So they are French, they’re already in possession of a national identity card, and they just want to renew it. Should that be a problem? Apparently, yes. One young woman was told that her French passport did not prove her nationality because it could be a fake passport. Excuse me? she asked. The passport that I’ve been using for the past 7 years that this office issued? Yes, that one.
I’ve always thought proving the “continuity of our life together” was always a funny way to put one of the requirements for my carte de sejour. If they really wanted to see the continuity of our life together, we could whip out some vacation photos or better yet, invite them over to see the pile of dirty socks in the corner, the mixed bag of toiletry items in the bathroom, the loving disarray of two creative people living together.*
But no, ok, they want papers.
I should not be stressed about proving that we’re still married and living together (um, because we’re still married and living together), but of course, there’s always room for worry.
Like my current melt-down: oh no! Our printer is running out of ink, so all of our print-outs don’t look perfect.
Does that matter?
Our banking, electricity bills, and rent stubs – any and everything we can do online is done online. That means all of our ‘original’ documents – cannot overstate the significance of the ORIGINAL – are just print-outs. Can the authorities-that-be hold that against us? They can do anything they please. Which is why I want these documents to look PERFECT. Which they do not. Thus, search for color printer stat.
Melt-down 2: Our joint tax statement. GREAT proof. Except, doh, the way they fixed the incorrect address (again, see my past post), was to put a sticky over the incorrect address and write in the new one. Are you kidding? No, our official tax return has a little sticky note with our correct address handwritten on it. Will the prefecture believe that the sticky note and handwriting were executed by the hands of an actual fonctionnaire (it was!) ? Sure hope so.
I’ll stop there with the details (there are more!) as I’m sure you get the idea. If I’m slightly exaggerating my anxiety for entertainment purposes, I would draw your attention to the word ‘slightly.’
I’m sure everything will be fine (good old American optimism), but this yearly ritual never fails to bring out a little unnecessary stress. Wish us luck!
(*P.S. and unprompted by my husband – see I take responsibility – I should set the record straight. I am actually the messier one. Not really messy. Just a person who tends to choose reading over dishes, a coffee out over laundry. You know, someone who wants stories more than a neat house.)