No, it’s not an oxymoron. Listen to my day yesterday:
8:21 – Miss the train by one minute. Decide to instead do some housekeeping and go and officially register the fact that I am a resident of the Hague at the town hall.
8:32 – Park at the town hall, get a number, wait in line.
8:42 – My number’s up. The pretty Indonesian lady at the counter makes a copy of my rental contract and visa documents, makes me a copy of my request for my records, tells me it will take five days to process. I ask her where I can go to get a parking pass for my car.
9:01 – After driving around the Hague for a bit with the map on my lap (because the streets are all curvy, one-way, suddenly-turn-into-pedestrian-walkways, I finally get to the Office of Parking Regulation (not its real name, just couldn’t translate the Dutch name). Take another number.
9:04 – My number is up. The guy behind the counter processes my request in under ten minutes, I pay 27 Euros (ridiculously cheap), and he gives me a parking pass for a year (ridiculously easy). Obviously, no one informed these people that they are supposed to be slow as molasses and hard to deal with.
Unfortunately, it took me a half hour just to get across the Hague by car (damn the roads, damn the canals, damn the construction), but I got a 10:20 train and was legally parked and registered in the Hague when I walked into work at 11:00.
Now i will never be able to say a bad word about the Dutch bureaucracy ever again.
Until my next robotically-administered speeding ticket that is…