Recently I fell foul of La Ley de Falta Uno (The Law of One Thing Missing), which, as formulated by us, states that you can never ever complete a bureaucratic transaction in one go. Even something as apparently straightforward as picking up a registered letter at Correos is also subject to the law, as I discovered.
The letter was addressed to my son, who is away, in Australia no less. Hacienda (the tax people) have been pursuing him and threatening to grab 48 euros (plus fines for late payment) they say is owing from 2007, rather than his rebate of 400 y pico (he’s a poor student!) and our tax lawyer is fighting them at every step. As I’m usually at home, I sign for the letters (and then take them to the lawyer). But this time I found a notification from Correos in my mailbox when I got back from UK. Off I went to Correos in c Aragó. But they wouldn’t give me the letter. My ID was not sufficient to ‘prove’ that I am Eduard’s mother, even though I have Spanish ID with my own maiden name (and so the second surname on my son’s ID is Collins), and we have the same address. Banging my hand on my forehead I remembered the Law. I was so used to signing for Eduard’s mail that I’d forgotten about authorisations. So, resigned and kicking myself, I trudged home to grab my power of attorney, back to Correos, and back home, with the letter.
I calculated that just to pick up the letter I walked 28 Eixample blocks (the Eixample is the gridiron part of Barcelona built in the late 19th century). Anyone mathematically inclined can check out the length of an Eixample block and tell me how many kilometres I did.
But sometimes identity crises are not so easily solved, as I will explain in the near future.
You can read all about burocracia, Hacienda, Correos and apellidos (surnames) in the book.