As I start to write this post I am sat on the Lake Terrace at the Barbican Centre and feeling ripped off in the purchase of a 250ml Tropicana Orange juice (£2.75!!). Just 40 minute after leaving the Russia Visa Application Centre.
The first part of this morning was all very official, take a ticket, wait your turn and do as we say, finger print here, thumb print there. I get it and now accept that this is part of life and needs to be done from time to time (Before I fought this, I am thinking a toothpaste incident at an Airport however this story is for another day). The life I like is the freedom of deciding what to do next, as I type away with the water fountains gushing I now realise that bureaucracy is a part of life. I have to embrace this to get to my freedom. A little like I would never buy a brand new car, even though I am pleased other people do, else I would not be able to purchase myself a second hand one. The part I find difficult about bureaucracy is that I find the whole process boring, I am pleased that there are people who embrace it a lot more than me for they enable a structure for me to be more footloose and fancy free.
Talking about boredom I spent some (a very short part) of the afternoon in the House of Commons listening to a debate on the EU Referendum Bill. I was there hoping to see my friends maiden speech, as it turns out it cemented my view that being a creative, abstract and overview ‘just give me the bullet points’ kind of person really would not be conducive to this event. The logical and lets go into the details of everything kind of role requires a different kind of person to me to sit through more than 40 minutes of any debate. So off I went to find the next place to continue writing this blog post. That place was the South Bank Centre, where I was joined by a very friendly and smiley fellow vegetarian eater who was tucking into a very yummy looking vegetable soup.
The day was rounded off with another quick visit into the House of Commons to see my ex-girlfriends new office and a quick catch up. Before this could happen there was more officialdom and bureaucracy. This time I used the wrong revolving door to enter Portcullis House, it said entrance, had I been a details kind of person I would have read “Passholders Entrance” and avoided the embarrassment of being locked in the middle of the revolving doors and the security guards gesturing through at me for a pass and me looking very blankly back at them. Once they released me from the revolving door, which acts as a great metaphor for my views on bureaucracy and freedom, I was able to use the correct entrance. Once in I had the Airport style security to navigate and like my earlier visit at a different entrance to the house there was more – wait your turn, do as we say, stand there, take this off, arms up, check that. Eventually I was in having passed the security checks that are, in my opinion, a massive barrier between us the people we elected to be our representatives.
This has been a day of contradictions and I do wonder if I would have appreciated those good moments of exploring the Barbican Centre and strolling the Southbank had I not felt restricted by the authoritative events which had sandwiched my freedom. Reflecting back I don’t think this is a new thing for me either. I remember coming into my own once I left school and had more freedom in higher education and it has just grown from there to where I am now.
One thing I have learnt from this process is that I am happy and willing to pay for services that enable me to be free and reduces any interactions with bureaucracy. Like having Real Russia checking and sorting out my initial visa forms or paying for an accountant to sort my tax returns. So a big thank you to all those people who love the details and minutia, because without you I would not have as much time to do the things I love. Like spending a minute or two trying to work out how to use a tap with my foot.