Public humiliation has always been in my top three reasons to wait outside someone’s workplace until they got off then attack them with a barrage of punches to the back of the head. I’m grown now, so I simply leave the threat on the table, but I never follow through. No sense in spending the better part of my 30’s in a cell someplace.
I walked into the Consulate General of Brazil in Washington, DC to apply for the tourist visa I’ll need at the end of November. I pulled my number, waited an hour and was finally called. With me was my self-addressed envelope and stamp, money order for $160, receipt for my online application submission, and itinerary.
The clerk looked at my things, stood up, walked to the back with a stank look on her face, then returned. She said loudly, “This is not the right money order.” All eyes in the room were on me. She grabbed my papers and envelope, stepped from behind the counter and demanded everyone’s attention, then yelled, “If you come in here with the wrong things, you are wasting our time, and you will not be seen today, even if you return with the proper things. The sticker and stamp need to be on the envelope, the money order needs to be from the post office, not a store!” She handed me my belongings, and shooed me away, but not before telling me to not come back that day.
It was 11:45. I had 15 minutes to cash my liquor store money order, run 3 blocks to the post office to get a new one, and return to the Consulate to pull a new number. I made it back at 11:59, pulled my number, changed my hoodie, and sat down for another hour. I watched her reject 6 others, one man who had been rejected twice already.
I ended up back in the same seat with everything she asked for. She wrote my receipt and let me know it’d be mailed to me the following week. I told her, after being handed my receipt, “you disrespected me earlier, and I’ll be filing a complaint, but thanks for filing this.” She said, “When I was trying to come to America, I was put into a room for 3 hours and questioned, and that was just to come for a visit. You will be fine.”
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.