Italian Post Office Anxiety

When you won’t get served because you simply do not possess the technical means to send a fax anymore, when no one is quite sure what the regulations are for your nationality to open a postal account, when you feel the Italian post-office anxiety building up, it's time to become Wolverine.

Looks harmless to you? You might as well be standing in front of the gates to hell.

If Italian post offices are a pain in the a* for Italians, imagine what they must be like for an over-polite Swiss person who is incapable of creating a scene. Who never wants to cause extra trouble, rather paying the randomly calculated eight Euro for sending off a letter instead of risking to become a "burden” to anyone.

Right, they must be a place of utter terror.

The Italian post office is only for the bravest and fittest, for the Jedis and the Wolverines among us, because really, it’s like going over to the dark side, like facing Sentinels and Mutant-hating humans, like a parallel universe in which the Italian post office is the death star. Fiction or reality, it’s sometimes hard to tell with the Italian post office.

In theory, six of the ten counters are operative, but one employee is cleaning her fingernails, another one is sleepily gazing off into the distance and a better world, two others are having a discussion about the thickness of tights.

From the two employees that are working, one is listening to the extensive medical report of her customer, and the other one is – whoopee – working.

You couldn’t possibly guess which one of the 15 forms you are supposed to fill out while you are waiting because using them to create a paper model of Rome would probably be easier, so you pick one randomly and hope for the best.

And while the well-known post office anxiety starts building up as traumatic memories keep popping up in your head (like that one time the woman wouldn’t serve you because apparently you didn’t understand Italian, when really you were just completely baffled by the fact that you had to fax (yes, the means of communication that was popular in the 90ies) her a copy of your ID card instead of e-mailing it or, dear me, give it to her in person), another emotion starts growing in your chest: Anger.

And if you’ve waited for 40 minutes and see an innocent elderly man passing on his queue-ticket to a newcomer who has been waiting for barely five minutes and will now be served next, before you, just because the nonno in question is late for his bocce tournament at the park, relax. You can’t do anything about it.

Be Ghandi, build up all that silent strength of resistance you know – we ALL know – lives inside you, and wait. Wait like you’ve never waited before and imagine how cool it would be to build a model of Rome out of paper forms.

Then finally your turn comes around and you need to indulge in the risky business of opening a second postal account because SkyTV keeps overcharging you so you want to move all your money and just leave the exact monthly amount of your subscription fee on your first account for them to charge.

But apparently this just can’t happen because you have a Swiss ID. It doesn’t matter that you opened the first account with the exact same ID, it doesn’t matter that they already have all your info on their computer programme that looks a little like the 1989 version of Kid Pix. Suddenly you find yourself in a political discussion where your very right of residence in Italy is being put in doubt because you’re not an EU-citizen but then you’re also not completely out of the EU. You suddenly realize that you are requiring the full attention of every single employee in the post office, even the discussion about the thickness of tights has come to an end because everyone has become an expert on the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and Italy. And that is when you need to become Wolverine.

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