I am working for IBM on the Smarter Planet campaign. It’s a good campaign, full of interesting promises, and I truly believe in potential of technology to make our lives better.
But when I go home, I realize I am dealing with what must be the Stupidest Country in a generally speaking rather Stupid Planet. Here’s the story: my son needs to get a passport for some traveling we’ll do together this summer. Getting a passport in this country can only be compared to getting one in East Germany when the Wall was up.
- They give you a list of documents you need to prepare: your old passport, or a copy of a “stolen or lost passport” statement (apparently nobody gets a passport for the first time)
- can I file the documents for my son? He works in the morning. No, you can’t.
- How long it’s going to take? 20 working days, unless it’s urgent. But tourism is no urgency.
- A friend tells me it’s quicker if you go to the central office; website says it’s open on saturdays
- But it’s not – some guy at desk says “Screw the site, the place’s closed on saturdays”
- Fede takes a day off this morning, lines for an hour – turns out central office is only for urgencies, GOTO 4
- He goes at a Police station, but the one he goes to it’s for urgencies only (with all these people dealing with urgencies, there’s nobody left to look after the poor regular bastards – I think the idea is they’ll bounce you from office to office, until it’s urgent and then they’ll know how to handle you)
- He goes at the local Town Hall – except that since yesterday they’re on summer hours. You got it, closed now!
- He goes to a Post Office – website says “some” PO accept papers for a passport (but which ones? obviously not the one he goes to)
- GOTO 3
A prayer to Sam Palmisano: I applaud you effort to make the planet smarter. While we wait for it, could you do me a favor and make Italy just a little less stupid?