Slightly-less-stupid Planet

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.

  1. 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)
  2. can I file the documents for my son? He works in the morning. No, you can’t.
  3. How long it’s going to take? 20 working days, unless it’s urgent. But tourism is no urgency.
  4. A friend tells me it’s quicker if you go to the central office; website says it’s open on saturdays
  5. But it’s not – some guy at desk says “Screw the site, the place’s closed on saturdays”
  6. Fede takes a day off this morning, lines for an hour – turns out central office is only for urgencies, GOTO 4
  7. 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)
  8. He goes at the local Town Hall – except that since yesterday they’re on summer hours. You got it, closed now!
  9. 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)
  10. 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?

Thank you!

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