Every once and a while, life presents a Kafkaesque situation.
In the novel The Castle, the protagonist arrives at a village. A mysterious bureaucracy operates out of a nearby castle. The entire story weaves through a bureaucratic quagmire.
The Castle in Real Life
The local government in the city where I live can seem eerily like The Castle. We did some work on our house. It required a permit. Since we are not professional contractors, my spouse and I are at the mercy of the local bureaucrats. We trust them to tell us what permits we need.
The project went fine. We are now finished and I called to schedule the final inspection. First, I spoke with D. She told me that we needed to have applied for another permit. I said, “Okay. Since we didn’t, what now?”
She transferred me to T. Since I did not know why she transferred me, I called back and spoke with L. She explained that I had to ask T for an exemption. So, I left T a message.
The next day, I left T another message.
The following day, T called back and said we did not need another permit. T asked me to call back and schedule the inspection with D or L.
The Kafka Part
I called back. The recording said they were in a meeting until 4:15.
I called back at 4:15. L answered and said “We don’t schedule anything after 4.”
I will call back tomorrow and think fondly of Kafka’s novel.
The God Part
It would be easy to let this situation frustrate me. I could even yell at any of the bureaucrats. It would not be the first time someone yelled at them. But, what would it prove? What would it do? Instead, I can use this experience as a reminder of that which I have to be grateful. The project went well. I have a home. I am not in Abaco picking up the shattered pieces in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. I’ll count my blessings.