Kafka

I was between jobs at that moment, and had to fill out some paperwork to get a compensation. I just didn’t know whether I needed to be at the RVA (general job administration) or the VDAB (more decentralised job centre where you can actually look for new jobs). The RVA was closest and most easy to get to, so I headed there at 2.30 PM, only to see a sign that the public could be served between 9 AM and 12 AM at the counter, and in the afternoon by telephone. Since I was there and the doors were open anyway, I ventured to the counter on the first floor. I only wanted to ask if it was the RVA I had to address for that specific matter, or the other office.

There was this big lady sitting at a desk behind the counter. I addressed her politely and asked if she could provide me with some information. Bluntly she pointed at the sign with the opening hours. I apologised, and said that I only wanted to know if it was this office I had to be in. She snapped back: ‘Can’t you read ? We’re open only before noon, in the afternoon you have to call !’
– ‘Err, sure, Ms., but now that I’m here in the flesh, I can ask the question as well, can’t I ?”
– ‘No ! Only by phone !’

So I stepped back a step or two, yanked out my cellphone, and dialed the number on the sign. Promptly, the phone in front of her started to ring. She looked at me as if I were a ghost, looked at her phone, looked back at me, looked back at the phone, and then kept staring at me, like a cow staring at a train. So I said to her: “Excuse me, Ms, could you please pick up your phone and answer my question ?”

She was flabberghasted, but eventually did answer my question. Turned out I had to be in the other office.

Right.

Thank you Ma’am.

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