Chapter XXV
by General (Uncle Claude) Xxaxx
& General (E.J. Gold) Nunan PFC 1st Class Ret.

“What is the purpose of your visit?” the agent was officious and really stupid. Not a propitious combination.

“This is not a visit I live here. I am just now returning from a visit to China.”

“I am sorry sir, you are in the visitor’s line. Therefore you must be a visitor.”

“The residents line is closed because the attendant is at lunch.” Woo replied with an attempt at even voice. “We were instructed to use this line by the day guard.”

“If you are using the visitors line, then you must be visitors. Either you answer my questions or I can’t let you enter.”

Struggling against a growing urge to scream, Woo smiled lightly and said, “What was the question?”

“What is the purpose of your visit?”

“I am not visiting, I live here.”

The attendant acknowledged Woo’s response with a simple “Okay”, then proceeded to write “No purpose” in the slot on the form.

“Why did you put ‘no purpose’ on the form? As I told you I have no purpose in visiting because I live here.”

“It is not my job to consider why you have no purpose for your visit. Only the fact that you have no purpose. How long will you be visiting our country?”

“I am not a visitor. I live here.”

Once again the attendant acknowledged Woo’s response with a simple “Okay” and wrote into the form “Zero days” in the appropriate slot.

“Isn’t it going to look strange for a supposed visitor to be visiting for zero days?”

“It is not my job to consider the relative sense of a visit’s length as long as it is below the maximum length of twenty days.” The attendant then gave Woo a rather ominous glare, “You are not visiting for more than twenty days are you?”

“No, you can safely say I am not visiting for more than twenty days. I am not visiting at all. I live here.”

“Okay, just so long as it is not over twenty days. You would need to apply for a special visa if that were the case. When is your return flight?”

“I don’t have a return ticket. I live here.”

“Oh, well, in that case, I am afraid that I may not let you enter our fair country.”

“How can I have a return ticket when I live here?”

“That is not my job as visitor aid, to solve that kind of problem sir. Unless you have a return ticket, I can’t let you enter our country.”

“You idiot I am just returning from China — where I was visiting — to Merika, the place where I live. I am today trying to return, for reasons that escape me at the moment.”

“See? Isn’t it so much easier to ignore reasons?”

The “aarrgh” escaped my lips in a strangled burst of near total frustrations. Sometimes I know they enjoy their stupidity. It couldn’t hurt at this point, so I decided to try once again to appeal to some form of higher sense and good will in the attendant. “Can’t you find your way clear to let me through so that I can go home, sit in a closet and scream non-stop?”

Implaccible as ever, the attendant simply asked, “When is your return flight scheduled?”

“I am returning today, I just got off that boat, I have been scheduled to return home today for two weeks ever since I reserved a ticket to leave and go to China for a visit.”

The attendant jumped to the — for him — brilliant conclusion that today was my return date. “Oh, then I take it that today is your scheduled return date? We have just a few minor formalities and you will be able to enter. Please take this form to the customs official.”

“Thank you; at last, some reason.” Professor Woo mumbled under her breath while walking over to another counter and another agent.

“Entry form and declaration of non-intention to immigrate form, sir.”

Handing the agent the single piece of paper Woo responded “Here is the entry form, I could not fill out the declaration of non-intention to immigrate, since I already live here.”

“I am sorry sir, no visitor may enter the country without a signed declaration of non-intention to immigrate — that is the law. Only residents are released from the necessity of signing the non-residence form.”

“But that is just the point I have been trying to make. I am a resident.”

“There has been some terrible mistake then. This is the wrong form. If you are a resident, you will need the resident form. Please return to the entrance clerk and get the proper form.”

“At last, someone is making some sense around here.” walking over to the original line. Then turning to the original clerk, Professor Woo took some small pleasure informing the first clerk that the second attendant instructed him to get a new form since he was not a visitor.”

“Very good sir, how long will you be visiting our country?”


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