There are very few pieces of modern technology I love as much as I love my laptop, especially when powered by SKYPE! Let’s just say that my passion for Skype is equal to, if not greater than, my unadulterated loathing of a certain vile cell phone carrier.
AT&T is a minion of Satan. It’s crappy service makes for all kinds of malicious mischief, especially for a guy who is desperately trying to navigate a long distance relationship, and already fighting against an nine-hour time difference. There are times when I think I’m paying AT&T for the privilege of making my life hell (see link below regarding AT&T’s attempt to break up my engagement).
On the other hand, Skype is my communications savior. Skype is the reason I can maintain said long distant relationship and not have to sell my organs to pay m’ mobile bill. It not only keeps me in voice communication with Stefania, but I also enjoy the perk of seeing her smile, too. And it cost nothing. It’s gratis. On the house. It’s Free.
FREE! [insert maniacal laugh here]
But of course we all know that nothing in life is really free. Right? Every once in a while, Stef and I have to pay back the Skype god (lower case “g”) for granting us hours upon hours of divine gratis video & voice communication. During this atonement period, Skype transforms into a tool of suffering, as Stefania and I are forced to talk about the trials and tribulations of the K1 Visa Paperwork.
In the current round of the Fiancé Visa process, Stef was bombarded with mounds of paperwork…
I had one page to her dozen. Not only had she been busting her butt all week combing through it, but last weekend she sacrificed a precious Sunday night to go over it with me.
In turn, I missed watching my Browns play the first game of the NFL season. Okay, so NOT watching the Browns blow a 14-3 lead against the Tampa Bay isn’t much of a sacrifice. In fact, I think I might owe the good people at the USCI a steak dinner for helping me miss that fiasco. But I digress…
This past Saturday was one of those days of communications compensation. I woke up that morning conflicted. On one hand, I was going to speak to my fiancé. The night before my Stef Skype time, I jonze the way seven year old Greg jonzed the night before Christmas. Skype time with Stef is the best part of my week, easy. However I knew this upcoming call was going to be different. It was going to be less laughs and “I miss you’s” but more “turn to form DS-230 space 7…” This video call was gonna be all about business and government paperwork. Fortunately, her first question was an easy one, a softball pitch, an easy warm up fight before the championship match. Right?
Stefania: “So on the previous paperwork we sent into the Government, I wrote ‘Milan’ on the forms, but I read on the internet that I was supposed to write, ‘Milano’!”
Greg: “No biggie,” I’m say. “Just write ‘Milano’ on these forms and move on. The immigration folks will figure it out. Next!”
Before I explain on to how that “Next” grenade blew up in my face, it’s important that I explain one thing where Stefania and I are worlds apart.
When it comes to paperwork, Stef is meticulous and exacting. She doesn’t waste time and she attacks any and all forms with a vengeance. She is surgical and a perfectionist. To Stef, the question of whether to type “Milan” or “Milano” was of vital importance. She understood that this question could be one of those seemingly insignificant details that could create an anomaly, a glitch, within the computer system of a bureaucracy that holds our future in its hands. It must be correct. She’s right.
Me? I’m a procrastinating slob. If it were up to me, I’d just scribble one of the two choices in the space and be done with it so we can flirt over the webcam like goofy teenagers.
“What color underwear are you wearing?”
She ignores this boorish question and continues to the matter at hand. The next thing I know, we’ve spent a good hour on “Milan” vs. “Milano”.
By the way… What’s up with white men messing around with other countries’ names? Why can’t they ever “discover” a foreign country or city and accept the name the locals give them?
Western Man: “My word, old chap. Your landscape is simply bully? What do you call your home?”
Citizen of Nippon: “We call our country ‘Nippon’!”
Western Man:“Nippon? Harrumph! I don’t care for that name. How about we call you… ‘Japan’!”
Citizen of Nippon:“ Excuse me?”
Western Man: “Bully! ‘Japan’ it is! And would you mind bangin’ this bronze oriental gong every time I say word JAPAN? Bully! Good day to you, sir.”
Citizen of Nippon: “But-“
Western Man: “I SAID GOOD DAY!”
So anyway, after about an hour I just about had it and I finally explode and I begin yelling like an idiot.
“Do you think we’re the first people to apply for a marriage visa from Milan?! The immigration officer has seen it all! Rome! Roma! Florence! Firenze! Naples! Napoli! We’re not really throwin’ anything new at these people, Stefi!” I scream.
So… Stef has this habit of smiling when I start yelling. At first it makes me feel kinda good (Cool! This ain’t so serious anymore), but then I begin to feel incredibly weak. It’s the kind of smile Muhammad Ali in his prime would’ve given me if I had punched him in his stomach. It’s a smile that says…
“Cute pudgy man, are you yelling at me? Oh, yes you are! Oh, yes you are! Aren’t you cute trying to be such a big man? Who’s my big man? Who is my big man?! Are you my big man?! Mio Dio! You’re so cute!”
Like bullets off a Kryptonian’s chest. Right? My rant was nothing more than comedy relief.
“Well let me give you something to REALLY stress about!” I continue. “I have to submit Pay Stubs and my most recent Tax Return. Yeah! They want to see if I make enough money to support us if you can’t find a job, and you’re gonna stress over the letter ‘O’! They could deny our application because I don’t make enough money! “
Stef’s reply? “Boh. You have worries, I have mine.”
I’m rolling on the floor
Her stress on the letter “O”, Milan or Milano, that’s a healthy hour of serious discussion. However my stress concerning salary and the IRS? … “Boh.”
By this point I’m laughing to keep from crying. Stef is laughing at me laughing. All is right with the word again. So lessons learned on that day? Hell if I know. I still don’t know what the hell went down. And if I ask guys who have been married for decades to explain it to me? They all give me the same answer.
“Welcome to my world.”
And what a wonderful world it is. You say Milan, I say Milano. You say tomato…
And that’s, as I like to say, the gist of it. Bully.
AT&T… You’re killing me.
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