Thursday, 30 April 2009

my love affair ... with Italy

I fell in love with Italy many years ago; but like most relationships, it is not 100% perfect; because nothing is, nothing can be. However where Italy exceeds above anywhere else in my experience in letting itself down, is in their administration.

I had been reliably informed that I needed to be registered with a Doctor, which had to be carried out a certain office. I go there and explain what I wish to do. They answer that this process has to be done with a certain officer who isn't there today. However there are several other offices where I can do it and one is open today. I drive twenty minutes to get there and I explain what I want to do: again I need to see a certain officer .....who isn't there today. However I can go to another office (only five minutes drive away. ) I ask at the desk, and you guessed I have to see a certain officer who is in that office 'over there'. It is empty and there is no queuing or ticket system, so we all lurk around the door like vultures until the man arrives and I pounce on him. He is friendly and I explain that I wish to register with a Doctor. I display my full complement of documents, passports and my Health Card, and ask him what he needs. He says 'I don't need anything' picking up my Health card, with one of these you can go to any Doctor.' Laughing, almost hysterically, I say: 'No. Surely that's too simple for Italy.' He laughs agreeing with me. He phones a colleague, to confirm the facts, and to tell him what I'd said. They laugh and I leave with a smile on my face.

But wait a minute: to how many people did I explain what I wished to do? They all said 'you register with a Doctor there'. The manual my friend had clearly said that I didn't need to register with a Doctor. So why did they tell me with false authority that that was the person to speak to about registering? I guess I'll never know.

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