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Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I call the university to ask about proving state residency and they direct me to a form on the registrar's website. I go to the registrar's office to pick up a copy but am informed it is available only online. I return home to print it but my printer is out of toner. I go to the library and print the form there. I fill in the form but don't understand some of the questions. I call the registrar's office but they are not open so I leave a message but never get a call back. I call again when they are open and the person who answers transfers me to the woman who handles residency applications. The call goes to voicemail, where her message instructs all students with questions about residency applications to send an email and allow five days for a reply. I send an email with four questions and wait ten days but there is no reply. I go back to the registrar's office and the man there answers some of my questions. When he reaches a question he cannot answer, he directs me to the real registrar's office, the existence of which I was unaware. Until now I had been visiting only an outpost of the real office. I go to the real office and discover that the woman who handles residency applications has a desk there, and office hours, and that, voicemail message to the contrary, the best way to get a question answered about residency is to visit her in person. Her office hours are happening now, but she is with another student and I must leave for work. I return another day and sit with her, and she answers more of my questions. Then she discovers that I am not currently attending class, that I intend to start in the fall. "Oh," she says, "then this is the wrong application for you. You need to go to the admissions office and use their application, because you are still an incoming student." She gives me the name and number of the woman in admissions who handles residency. I leave her office, almost toss the old application into a recycling bin, and go to the admissions office. The woman is at lunch. But it is fortunate that I kept the old application, because it is identical to the new application, save one page. I kneel at the desk and fill out the one page then and there, heedless of the offer of a chair in which to sit while I do so. I reluctantly entrust the paperwork to the receptionist to put into my file for safekeeping until within thirty days of my one-year anniversary of state residency, at which point I will return and officially submit my application to the woman currently at lunch and pray that the receptionist actually saved and correctly filed the copies of my taxes, driver's license, voter registration card, lease, and vehicle registration, which I had collected and copied and had notarized from various offices around the city.

Multiply this by federal taxes, by Montana taxes, by Georgia taxes, and by several other mundane and kafkaesque matters of paperwork that have entered my life. I awaken at 5:38 am to write a blog about it and the server nearly resets my entry to a blank screen when I attempt to publish the paragraph.

And I wonder where my time has gone.

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