Author Topic: The Adventures of Martyk and the Bureaucracy of the Canadian Government  (Read 1440 times)

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Offline martyk

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Come, gather round children and let me spin you a tale.  It is a tale of adventure.  A tale of intrigue.  This is the tale of my attempt to submit my government security clearance forms for my co-op.

I suppose it would be prudent for me to start at the beginning.  Last night, in the midst of a busy evening of drawing pictures for internet-folk, I received new correspondence from my co-op contact at the Canadian Emergency Management College.  Included was a form to be signed and delivered in person to a non-descript building in the middle of downtown Ottawa, with the unspecific direction of giving it to "Security".  I didn't think much of it, simply looking up the location in Google Maps and plotting my bus route for the morning.

After watching the dawn break outside my window, I began my intrepid journey.  Tired and hungry from a long night of Internet, I went to my usual haunt for early morning noms, Denny's.  Upon arrival, I was distraught to see that the current server was one I had tangled with in the past.  Not in a very open sense mind you, but on a battlefield of psychological warfare.  I'm certain he remembers me because he does this every time.  Despite my consistently tipping well and everything, he seems to do all in his power to avoid me for as long as possible.  I ask for coffee, he goes and gives refills to every other customer in the restaurant before coming back to me.  I'm finished eating and following him with my eyes, signalling that I want my bill, he somehow manages to tour the entire restaurant without looking my way once.  Also my Moons-Over-My-Hammy was unusually soggy with a substandard egg to cheese ratio.  Still, it was enough to satisfy me and shortly after I was off on my way.

Arriving at the bus stop, I was amused to find that the bus schedule monitor had crashed and was unable to reconnect to the main system.  Entertaining as this was, it caused me to be unable to predict the bus arrivals.  A small inconvenience, but an inconvenience nonetheless.  As the first 98 came in and was instantly filled to capacity, I stood vigilant for the next 15 minutes later, managing to hop on quick enough to grab a seat in preparation for my 35 minute ride downtown. 

Upon arriving at my destination I immediately set off in the direction Google Maps had pointed me in the hours before, knowing the general location of the building I seeked.  Unfortunately, being in the heart of downtown Ottawa, every building nearby was a nondescript building covered in Canadian flags, with little rhyme or reason to the numbering.  Checking the building number written on the form I was to hand in, I hazarded a guess and stepped into a building close enough that it had the potential to be correct.  Fully aware that I could be mistaken, I went straight to the guard at the reception and asked if the building was the one I was looking for.  When they asked what I was here for, I assumed that meant I was correct.

Thus began and incredibly baffling conversation wherein I told her my direction to bring the form to security.  Upon looking at it, she shook her head and said I needed to give it to my employer, to which I replied it was my employer who gave me said directions.  The conversation continued looping in this fashion until I finally had enough.  Realizing that I was getting nowhere, I tried my first query again, only to have the guard say "Oh" and inform me I was in fact in the wrong building.  It turns out the nondescript building covered in Canadian flags I was looking for was actually right next door to the nondescript building covered in Canadian flags I was currently in.  Thanking them for they delayed yet still useful assistance, I continued on my journey.

And so began my next trial.  Again approaching the guard at the front desk, I described my mission to her, showing her the form.  She immediately pointed me in the direction of the Identification Office, where I would apparently finally find out what the whole point of this ridiculous excursion was.  There I ended up in line with a Quebecer chatting vehemently with the clerk there.  While I do speak French rather well, my Quebec is somewhat lacking, though I was able to discern that whatever they were discussing, it would be expiring in 2016.  Good to know.

After 15 minutes of slurred mangling of the French language, I was finally able to speak with the clerk, who immediately remarked that I was yet again in the wrong place.  The receptionist had given me incorrect directions.  I was to take the form to Security on the 3rd floor.  However to do so, I first needed to pass by the mighty gatekeeper, who informed me I first needed a pass from the receptionist.

Returning to her once again, I explained my plight.  She stated the only way I could get one is if my contact who had given me the form could vouch for me.  I could not remember the name of the woman who sent me the form, but I did remember the name of my employer, complicatedly spelt as it was.  However, despite my edeilic memory, the receptionist was unable to find her in the system, and without a phone number to contact her, I was out of luck.

Thinking quickly, I remembered I had all the necessary information still in the e-mail on my account.  I asked the receptionist if there were any internet cafes nearby where I could find a computer to which she replied, "Er, lots.  Bridgestone maybe?" and pointed me in the direction of an intersection I miraculously knew the location of, given that it was where my bus had stopped in the first place 3 blocks away.  Thanking her for her assistance of a sort, I continued onwards.

Arriving at the Bridgestone, I was dismayed to find that it did not have its own computers as I was lead to believe, and instead only served Wi-Fi and delicious coffee.  Again thinking fast and realizing that I would get nowhere wandering aimlessly through the streets, I asked a barista if there was a nearby public library.  Surely a library would have the computer I seeked!  To my luck, there was!  Another 3 blocks away from where my form needed to be, at another bus stop I had passed earlier.

Finally arriving at the library, with the computers within sight, literally 5 meters away, I was informed the library was closed by the man attending the cafe, who had apparently set himself up as a sort of keeper of the palace of knowledge and internet.  The only people allowed in at the moment were apparently a part of some sort of class, which consisted of them sitting in a circle watching people play tennis badly on TV.  Resigning myself to waiting, I bought an energy drink to keep me going and settled in for the 45 minute wait alongside a homeless man and a large fellow in a boonie cap who kept leering at me.  During this time I read through 3 different newspapers, one of which consisted of nothing but election and Bin Laden coverage.  I only ended up finishing half of my drink as I was still full from breakfast.

Finally, the Grand Keeper of Knowledge and also Sandwiches deigned I could enter.  Hurrying to the computers as a large throng of people suddenly flooded the library, I was surprised to find that you needed a library card to access them.  Desperate at this point, I inquired regarding that, and found they actually also had temporary internet cards as well.  Heading to the accounts desk, I waited patiently behind a line that hadn't been there 30 seconds before, until I finally had the key to my e-mail.  Grabbing a piece of paper and a pen, I accessed my e-mail, writ down the information, returned the card, and was out of the library within 2 minutes.

Accessing my e-mail I learned another important fact however.  It would seem the address pointing to a nondescript building covered in Canadian flags on my form was not the same address pointing to a nondescript building covered in Canadian flags that was in the email.  Opting to investigate this building instead, I headed towards it, discovering that it was in fact right across the street from the first building I visited.  I was certain I finally had the right location and that soon my journey would be over.  However, the final trial would prove one of the most taxing of all.

Entering the foyer, I did as I had done repeatedly before and approached the guards at the reception.  I explained my mission and showed my form, to which she nodded before noticing some sort of incongruency with it.  Handing me off to another guard, he examined it for a moment, before determining that it was in fact correct.  After making a phone call, he said he would go upstairs and get a person from the mysterious Security I had long sought to take the form from me.  And that was the last I saw of him.

15 minutes later I was informed by another guard that the previous guard would not be returning.  She would instead make some calls on my behalf to attempt to settle this matter once and for all.  For that she needed the contact information that I had just painstakingly collected.  The sheet of paper on which it was however had mysteriously vanished that very moment.  As she patiently waited, I checked every possible location, finding nothing.  Eventually my hand drifted back down into the pocket I had first put it in, a pocket I had already checked numerous times, to discover that it had magiced its way back into it after its pan-dimensional journey.  Finally able to give her the information, she contacted her supervisor with it, who in turn said that I was to contact the one who sent me the form in the first place and have her retrieve it.  I was now placed in the difficult position of contacting someone whom I had never had any real correspondence with, and whom I had no clue as to the actual location of.

Luck was on my side at last as I called the number and discovered she was in fact within the very building I found myself in.  Within 10 minutes she was in the lobby and the exchange at last took place.  Now free of the burden of the form, I headed back outside to return to the bus stop.  And then it started raining.  Hurrying towards the bus stop I had come from, I realized it was in fact on a one way street, and my stop was elsewhere.  Hoping I was making the right decision, I headed in the most likely direction, emerging onto the street to see my bus rounding the corner one block down, and heading for the bus stop one block up.  After one last mad dash, I just managed to reach it in time, thus ending my grand adventure.

As I sat on the bus through the long ride home, I reflected on my adventure and wise words said by my mother many years before.  "Martin," she had said, "Promise me you will never work for the government."  A warning too late understood perhaps.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I had now come to understand the power of the government bureaucracy first hand.  It was a powerful force for both good and evil, and no matter how much we loathed it, it deserved our respect.

After all, its nonsense bought me an extra week of vacation before work starts.


Quote from: Doctor Zay
Martyk is a handsome fish.
Quote from: Brandonazz
This dolphin is delicious.
Quote
<Sgore> Martyk, mentally I always picture you as like, our forums bartender.
<Neoadept> I've always pictured you trapped in a tuna net

Offline LadyM

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1. Don't tip the Denny's guy so well if he's treating you bad. Feel free to talk to his manager too.

2. Print everything you need before you leave home. Emails and forms.

Did you get the job?

Online Krakow Sam

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1. Don't tip the Denny's guy so well if he's treating you bad. Feel free to talk to his manager too.

NOOOO! You're Canadian, which means you have the same queen as us, which makes you partly British.

And a British person NEVER complains in a way which will make the problem go away. Your ancestral nationality DEMANDS you just keep on as normal, seething internally and complaining to everyone else.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline sgore

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Martyk, you are like a hero of the modern world.
And I'm of the same curiosity as LadyM. Let us know how it all turns out.
What meme is relevant right now? Look, just imagine I'm riffing on that. Updating signatures is exhausting.

Sam:The Ploofy Master

Offline munchkin5

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You should make an artsy movie directed by the coen brothers about this.

Offline sgore

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If it were directed by the Coen brothers it would end with him still at the library.
What meme is relevant right now? Look, just imagine I'm riffing on that. Updating signatures is exhausting.

Sam:The Ploofy Master

Offline Gnoll

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15 minutes of slurred mangling of the French language

Well, that couldn't have been any fun.
Who are you again and why in the world would you expect anything resembling rationality or civility in youtube comments?

Offline martyk

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1. Don't tip the Denny's guy so well if he's treating you bad. Feel free to talk to his manager too.

NOOOO! You're Canadian, which means you have the same queen as us, which makes you partly British.

And a British person NEVER complains in a way which will make the problem go away. Your ancestral nationality DEMANDS you just keep on as normal, seething internally and complaining to everyone else.

Sam's right.  Also, I'm still not entirely certain it's not all in my head, which is a distinct possibility.

Technically I've already got the job locked down.  It's just a matter of jumping through hoops until they actually let me start.
Quote from: Doctor Zay
Martyk is a handsome fish.
Quote from: Brandonazz
This dolphin is delicious.
Quote
<Sgore> Martyk, mentally I always picture you as like, our forums bartender.
<Neoadept> I've always pictured you trapped in a tuna net