Today is the National Day in Monaco. So we have day off. Well, in theory we have a day off. We did plan to go to the Town Hall annex, to register that I am the father of the as yet unborn child. This is not necessary but helps in the event of the birth, within 3 days of which I must go to Maire, ( Town Hall) and register the birth of the child. If I am not there within three days, I will have to go before the Procurer Justice ( is that a word in English? ) to explain why and I will get no social insurance, social assistance, benefit, welfare, or any thing else for the child. I was fascinated. We walked into the Maire Annex and they told us 'No Dear you must go to the Maire Proper for that'..... ahem... As I walked outside I saw a group of people pull up in Van and crush the car beside them that was parked. They were unconcerned. After some debate I decided it was really just a lot of noise that appart from small scratches, no 'harm' was done.
We drove to my bank first which was about a 15 minute walk. A line of one way streets caused me to turn Right, go forward, turn left, go forward, turn left, go foward, go forward, turn left, go forward, turn left, go foward,to get there at exactly midday. It was closed with no sign of life. The sign on the door said "Ferme 12:00-13:30"
Well let's go to the Maire. We drove, we parked we walked. At the Maire I held open the door for a lady, and about 10 ladies, 4 gentlemen and a man a woman came out the door before I could go in. I was struck by the wide open space. The panelled walls. The Black and White photo of the current Mayor hung on one wall. It looked about 40 years old but he has only been in power a few months. I thought of Dorian Grey for a moment and then put that thought out of my head. There was no clock in sight. There was a man in front of us, using his local civil servant as his psychiatrist/psycologist all at the same time, but by his jerky actions and from the story he was telling, I was pretty sure his leather coat had been on the other way this morning with the sleeves tied firmly behind his back. He took up a lot of time. Over his Head was sign for registering births. Beside it on the right was a sign for recognition of the child, that would be us then, and further right was the Livret de Famille or The family book.
The family book is a legal document with registration of Marriage, Children, vaccinations etc;. My ex has it. I don't. It's a legal document that proves you own your own child and is often required for the registration of children in children type activities.
So I took the opportunity while waiting to recognise my as yet unborn second child to ask for a copy of the famous book. But did I have a piece of identity? Yes I did! Did I have proof of where I live? Yes, thanks to the need to go the bank because banking internet is so bad, I did!. Did I know if the act of marriage that happened in Ireland was translated in Nantes? Because if it was the the livret would be blue, if not it would be white. I know nothing about Nantes, well I know our one is blue so that is okay right? Well you see if you are not sure you can go onto the internet, and check at this address if it was translated in Nantes and then go to the Maire Annex not back to the Maire and they would sort it out thank you and good bye. Oh well.
I got up and moved over to recognise the kid, we sat down. The lady was warm and welcoming she looked behind us. Some young man who looked like he had spent the night speeding( I don't mean in a car) and couldn't find anything to get him back down, was looking very agitated. He was agitated when we had arrived 20 minutes previously and the chair was free. Apparently he wanted the same as us, but had just stood agitated for the best part of an hour looking around him. Now that he saw you could sit in an empty chair, some of his best moves of the previous night were beginning to re-emerge in a most jerky like fashion. The guy was like vogue fast forward.
Eventually it was our turn, the first character was still rocking on with his personal civil servant and we got to go back to Jose. Yes her name was her desk. she moved us down two desks, then started to deal with us. I thought of computer networks and wondered what justification in the births deaths and marriages office you could have for having to move seat depending on which thing you wanted to do. She explained the 3 day rule. She asked about the family of the child. Know that for the moment it is not important but once it is registered then that is the childs legal name for ever and it can never never be changed. so if it's a double barrelled name there will a double hi-fin as well ( does hi-fin take a hifin? ) So if your child is called Murphy McCormack it will be Murphy - - McCormack and it can never never be changed. Cue the spooky music as our baby sets off to Mount Olympus to get his name changed. The nationality of the child will be Irish and it will be Italian because you are Irish sir and Madame is Italian and you won't have a family book because you are not married. But when you are married you will have one and the childs name ( which cannot be changed EVER) will be in that book too. That made me re-query my earlier discovery and ask again for a copy of the book that exits already. I told Jose I wasn't too good at insisting in French, I told her it was my fault, she went and spoke to her colleague. After some hushed telling off, ( I cringed) we were invited to move seats again. The lady was not happy. I apologised and as she told me it was not a problem I could see both the jury at Cannes and Oscar Guild stand up and applaud. Finally everything was in order and without any grumpyness and with some genuine good will from everyone we were on our way.... There was birthday class to attend, where apparently the only way to have a baby is to ensure there is no pain and that is achieved by epidural, either 10 mg (perhour?) dose or a dose you administer yourself. That's it no pain, otherwise completely natural. Then back to the bank. I got the needful done. I asked could I do this needful on the internet, which it says on their site I can, and the girl told me no!. I told her normally I have to take a day off to come here, she told me I could write a letter. Could I send an email? NO!..
So I got to wonder with all the red tape in France a) Do they know how the internet functions? b) Thank God my understanding of it is that it was American Military at the start, and hence it is far more flexible that French law c) is it any wonder I need physiotherapy to help my body relax?