The Tale of the Third Finger Scan

/ San Francisco, California

I am burrowed in a small cafe with soft music in the background and a warm coffee in hand. The heatwave in the bay area has broken and today I have nothing to do but read and write and read some more.

I ought to to update the /newsletter page today since now I’m working on multiple newsletters at once. Also it would be a good time to improve the /notes page and break it up by categories or tags or something.

The only bummer thing on the agenda today is gathering documents for my green card application. It’s half anxiety-inducing and half cringe. You’re asked to provide a mountain of evidence of all your contributions to society and then beg for gushing recommendation letters from folks you admire. Finally you have to wait for some almighty figure in some distant, unknown place to say “Ah, yes. You are worthy…for now.”

Several weeks ago I had to go and get two fingers scanned in a big machine. Then a few weeks after that I had to go back to the same big machine and get one more finger scanned. It’s too kind to call it Kafka-esque, as you’re forced to pretend that any of this bureaucracy works or is useful or has the impact that it claims to have. It’s a clown show that impacts millions of people, solely designed to flatter the egos of those who already live here—do you see how hard it is to get into this club??? I must be special! And I am sat here venting my frustration despite this whole system being designed to benefit me—white, British, employed.

It’s in these moments when you’re in a booth getting your third finger scanned or sat waiting in a nondescript building awaiting another strange interview, that you see America from a different angle. I love this place, it’s my home now, and I feel American in every way that any American must feel. But it’s in these moments that I believe this place can be so much better than a racist, colossal bureaucracy designed just for me.

Okay, enough ranting. Back to the coffee.




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