One for three / Uno por tres

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

WE HAD SOME BUSINESS TO take care of this morning. There were three things on the list and we weren’t confident it was going to go well. The first was to make an appointment to renew our residency cards. After 10 years, the process is very simple. However, it takes place at the offices of the National Police and the group that runs it in Fuengirola are not known for their efficiency. And because they’re so inefficient, the staff themselves tend to get frustrated and unpleasant. We arrived and I told the security guard what we were there for. He told me to wait in line for the one man who was doing everything. We stood, behind someone else already waiting, for perhaps 20 minutes that seemed like one big cluster f#@k with people crowding the stairs at a loss about what to do. Then came the changing of the guard. I walked up to the new guard and told him what we were there for and he said at the same time as someone else in line, “You can only make appointments online now.” As we walked away, along with the woman who had been in front of us, San Geraldo said, “Zero for three thus far.”

We then walked to City Hall just 5 minutes away, where we had left the car, to pay our auto tax. That was a breeze. Pleasant and efficient. We had parked in the underground lot. SG went directly to the car and I went to the machine with the ticket to pay. The machine malfunctioned. It ate my ticket. I pressed the call button (where I read immediate help was available 24 hours a day). No one responded. I pressed and pressed. I pressed the cancel button again and again. A line had formed behind me. Finally, the machine spit out my ticket. I went to the machine at the other end of the lot (that, thankfully, no one else seemed to know about) and was successful. By that time, I was spitting nails.

We then drove 8 minutes to the Toyota dealership. We bought our car insurance through them when we bought the car. San Geraldo phoned Toyota Insurance yesterday to add me — with my new license!!! — to our insurance. They were unable to do it and said we should go to the dealership. So we did. The manager of the dealership was completing a sale. There was no one else there. He was pleasant and asked what we were there for. When I told him, he was stunned. “They told you to come here?” We made an appointment for tomorrow morning. We’re about to change our insurance company, but SG was told we need to get me on our current insurance to make the transfer easier. To burn off the negative energy, I went for a long walk after lunch. I walked about twice as far as planned and almost kept on walking. I feel great. One out of three ain’t bad and tomorrow is another day.


TENÍAMOS ALGUNOS COSAS QUE HACER esta mañana. Había tres cosas en la lista y no estábamos seguros de que fuera a salir bien. El primero fue concertar una cita para renovar nuestras tarjetas de residencia. Después de 10 años, el proceso es muy sencillo. Sin embargo, tiene lugar en las oficinas de la Policía Nacional y el grupo que lo dirige en Fuengirola no es conocido por su eficacia. Y debido a que son tan ineficientes, el personal mismo tiende a sentirse frustrado y desagradable. Llegamos y le dije al guardia de seguridad para qué estábamos allí. Me dijo que esperara en la fila al único hombre que estaba haciendo todo. Nos quedamos parados, detrás de alguien que ya estaba esperanda, durante unos 20 minutos con un gran grupo de personas en las escaleras sin saber qué hacer. Luego vino el cambio de guardia. Caminé hacia el nuevo guardia y le dije para qué estábamos allí y él dijo al mismo tiempo que alguien más en la fila: “Ahora solo puede hacer citas en línea.” Mientras nos alejábamos, junto con la mujer que había estado frente a nosotros, San Geraldo dijo: “Cero por tres hasta ahora.”

Luego caminamos hasta el ayuntamiento a solo 5 minutos de distancia, donde habíamos dejado el coche, para pagar nuestro impuesto sobre el automóvil. Eso fue una brisa. Agradable y eficiente. Habíamos aparcado en el aparcamiento subterráneo. SG fue directamente al auto y yo fui a la máquina con el boleto para pagar. La máquina no funcionó. Se comió mi boleto. Pulsé el botón de llamada (donde leí que había ayuda inmediata disponible las 24 horas del día). Nadie respondió. Presioné y presioné. Presioné el botón cancelar una y otra vez. Una línea se había formado detrás de mí. Finalmente, la máquina escupió mi boleto. Fui a la máquina en el otro extremo del lote (eso, afortunadamente, nadie más parecía saberlo) y tuve éxito.

Luego manejamos 8 minutos hasta el concesionario de Toyota. Compramos nuestro seguro de coche a través de ellos cuando compramos el coche. San Geraldo telefoneó ayer a Seguro de Toyota para agregarme — ¡con mi nueva licencia! — a nuestro seguro. No pudieron hacerlo y dijeron que deberíamos ir al concesionario. Así lo hicimos. El gerente del concesionario estaba completando una venta. No había nadie más allí. Él fue agradable y preguntó para qué estábamos allí. Cuando le dije, se quedó atónito. “¿Te dijeron que vinieras aquí?” Hicimos una cita para mañana por la mañana. Estamos a punto de cambiar nuestra compañía de seguros, pero le dijeron a SG que teníamos que contratarme con nuestro seguro actual para facilitar la transferencia.

Para quemar la energía negativa, di un largo paseo después del almuerzo. Caminé aproximadamente el doble de lo planeado y casi seguí caminando. Me siento genial. Uno de cada tres no está mal y mañana es otro día.

• As the crowd gathered. It was worse in the other direction.
• Mientras la multitud se reunía. Fue peor en la otra dirección.
• Seafood on the fire at one of the new chiringuitos.
• Mariscos al fuego en uno de los nuevos chiringuitos.
• Moose and Dudo watching for birds before I went out for my walk. I had to stay way back in the dining room so they wouldn’t notice me.
• Moose y Dudo buscando pájaros antes de que yo saliera a caminar. Tuve que quedarme atrás en el comedor para que no se dieran cuenta de mí.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

32 thoughts on “One for three / Uno por tres”

  1. I love the photos of Moose and Dudo looking out at the birds and the water. Glad you’re feeling good, and sorry there’s so much angst in dealing with local agencies. If it’s any consolation, NY isn’t much better.

    1. Carole:
      Depending on the agency, no place I’ve lived has been much better. Some are good. Some are awful.

  2. Considering, I guess, the time of year/summer that isn’t too bad? But I do understand your frustration.

    1. Jim:
      And August is when just about everything either shuts down here or slows to nearly a halt. Made some more progress today.

  3. A little depressing (but realistic) when one heads out the door anticipating f*ck ups. And somehow, bureaucracy never disappoints our low expectations. Like you, I’d still be spitting nails. Better luck tomorrow..

  4. I can certainly relate to your frustration when dealing with bureaucrats — most can’t find their ass with both hands and a map! Today is a good day for me — after 2.5 months since my first Pfizer shot and several delays/cancellations without prior notification, I FINALLY got my second Pfizer vaccination this morning! YAY! Now, if the forest fire smoke and hot, humid weather would bugger off, I’ll be able to breathe easier too, LOL!

    1. Ooh! I love that: “most can’t find their ass with both hands and a map” and will have to remember it. Great news about your second dose. Mine will be Sunday unless by some miracle someone finally contacts me… and changes it to Saturday. The fires are already awful. I hope at least this round is soon under control!

      1. I worked with an officer once who always added “and a flashlight!” whenever I used that expression about people unable to find their ass….LOL!

    1. Wilma:
      I’ve written about that office before. Even worse than Motor Vehicles. Motor Vehicles has rules and processes. They just screw up a lot and feel their power too often. National Police Foreigners Office doesn’t share policies or processes. So, it’s always a mess to deal with them. And when you think you know how it works, they don’t do it that way anymore.

    1. Debra:
      I love those ticket machines when they work. And I can usually be patient when they don’t. But yesterday was not the day for that to happen. And THEN, when we exited the garage, the gate was up and we didn’t even need to use our ticket!

    1. Bob:
      Sometimes, I want Dudo and Moose’s life. But they’re more neurotic than we are. WAS THAT THE DOORBELL?!? OH MY GOD!!! RUN!!!!!

    1. Kirk:
      It was a beautiful day. I figured I’d get in trouble if I was caught taking pictures there.

  5. If you brought home the whole fish, would the boys eat the parts you wouldn’t? It is good to hear the tax collector has their act together, something has to work.

    1. David:
      I don’t know what the boys would do. They don’t like canned tuna! I have a feeling they’d sniff the fish and walk away.

  6. Your two “boys” are ever hopeful – just like you two. That one person left to deal with the long line must be as frustrated as all of you – can’t imagine having THAT job.

    1. sillygirl:
      That poor person who works there. That’s a major part of the problem. Whoever is running things clearly doesn’t care that nothing works. So all the unpleasantness falls on the staff who are then often very unpleasant themselves due to their frustration. There used to be a guy at the desk (when you could go to the desk) who was one of the nastiest, most unhelpful people we’d ever met. Either Welsh or Scot, spoke almost no Spanish, nasty from the moment you said Good morning, and screwed things up constantly (wrong forms, wrong payment schedules). A nightmare. I wouldn’t blame his behavior on the mess of the system. He wasn’t there yesterday and I hope that means he retired (he had to be close to 80). I was told by some that he was a volunteer, but I can’t imagine he volunteered to be that miserable and nasty.

      1. Did he just volunteer to be nasty? Wonder what he was like in his real life.

      2. sillygirl:
        I could never believe he really was a volunteer (although many people said so). He clearly hated what he was doing and hated dealing with people.

    1. Mcpersonalspace54:
      Truth is there’s no way I could have done many of these things so easily when we arrived in Spain 10 years ago. It does make me feel great about how much my Spanish has improved. I may search for words at times, but it hasn’t been a major issue.

      1. mcpersonalspace54:
        I wish I spoke more languages. I know people who are fluent in 5 or more! (And, no, they’re not Americans.)

  7. It would be so nice if everyone could be on the same page. At my most recent job, I know we gave consumers conflicting information because the people above us gave us conflicting information.


    1. Janie:
      I’m sure that’s a problem here, too. When there are step-by-step instructions for a process, it’s helpful if they’re written down and maybe even shared with the public. Imagine. When we applied for our residency visas in the States, we worked with the Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles. They were exceptional. Everything clearly explained online. An acquaintance worked with a consulate in another part of the country and understanding the process was a guessing game.

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