A case of mistaken identity theft, Czech-style (Part I)

Yesterday was a classic ā?œI should have stayed in bedā? day. I woke up eager to plunge into yet another lifestyle change: early to bed, early to rise, start the day with a run, try to make it through without a single smoke, no coffee, no sweets, three uber-healthy square meals, no World of Warcraft, and beaucoup productivity. I had a bit of paperwork to take care of in order to renew my trade license and visa, but the papers I needed were those that are a snap to get: a statement from the district financial office saying I owed the state no money and my Czech and Canadian criminal records.

On waking at 7 a.m. I felt groggy and cold. I could hear traffic sizzling over wet pavement outside but it didnā??t sound like it was still raining. As I suffer from a fairly nasty allergy to pollen, I was kind of glad that it was wet out and looked forward to a quick brisk run. Then I opened the blinds.

While it wasnā??t coming down cats and dogs, the weather looked pretty miserable ā?? too miserable for me considering the fact that I donā??t have any waterproof jogging gear. Well, whatever, I thought, Iā??ll return to fitness tomorrow and enjoyed a nice big breakfast instead ā?? corn flakes and banana, honeyed toast, a yogurt drink, orange juice, a big mug of tea and four squares of chocolate. Then four more squares of chocolate. Then a cigarette. Iā??ll kick tomorrow, I reckoned.

Itā??s a good thing I still had about half a pack of smokes as I ended up needing them ā?? well, at least I felt I needed them.

First stop, the Prague 9 Financial Office. Getting the document I needed here would be a piece of piss, in spite of an administrative cock-up caused by ill communication between the FOā??s in Prague 4 and Prague 9 (my records had not been transferred from the former to the latter when I moved two years ago, which had caused a fair amount of stress a few weeks ago when I got a letter from the P4 FO telling me I owed them a penalty for not informing them that I had paid my taxes last year ā?? the lovely Jitka sorted that out). I just had to go up to someoneā??s office, sign for the paper and that would be it. Then Iā??d pick up both of my pristine criminal records, go to my district Trade License Office, wait a week or so and Iā??d have everything I need to get my visa.

Well, of course everything wasnā??t that simple, otherwise I wouldnā??t be writing about it. Apparently I owed the state 1,000 koruna for traffic violations, one in Plzen, the other in Litomerice. This meant I could not get a paper from the FO saying that I donā??t owe the state any money.

I went a little numb, laughed in disbelief and told the clerk who had just informed me of this that a) I have never been to Litomerice, b) the last time I was in Plzen had been something like three or four years ago and I was a passenger on the way to and from the city, c) I have never even sat in the driverā??s seat of a showroom car in the nearly ten years that I have been living in the Czech Republic and d) I donā??t have a driverā??s license.

After about an hour of arguing and calling offices in Litomerice and Plzen, and, of course, getting the divine Jitka to kick some Czech clerk ass, it eventually dawned on me that perhaps somebody was using my expired Ontario drivers license, which had been in a wallet of mine that got nicked one night at Marquis de Sade just over a year ago. The only other pieces of ID in the wallet were a health insurance card and library card, both expired, as well as an ATM card, but I blocked that on the same night that I discovered that my wallet had gone missing. But as the drivers license didnā??t have a photo (I got a new one issued to me while I was here, which is something that can be done once), it seemed that somebody was using my license to get out of paying fines for traffic violations.

How naive I had been. I reckoned that since all of the above-mentioned pieces of ID had expired (thinking about it now, I just realised that my old birth certificate was in it, but thatā??s also no longer valid because of a relatively new law regarding birth certificates from the province of Quebec ā?? not that Czech authorities would know anything about that) and none of them were photo ID nobody could do anything with it. So, I didnā??t report the theft to the police. I had heard from a few friends who had made such reports that it is an insanely time-consuming and aggravating process, and Iā??ve had more than my fair share of such processes dealing with Czech authorities and bureaucrats. So I let it go, much, it now seemed, to my chagrin.

The smugness that was radiating from the two women working in that FO office I had been fuming in for the past hour was palpable. Tsk tsk tsk, you should have reported itā?? if you had reported it this would all be sorted outā?? why didnā??t you report itā?? too bad for youā??

It took all my power to refrain from telling them to shut the fuck up and get back to pushing paper, entering data, fucking the dog, or whatever the hell it is they were hired to do. So, after a couple of cool-down cigs, I was back on the metro from Ceskomoravska to Cerny Most to report a theft that had occurred over a year ago to the city police. This, surprise surprise, is an entry in itself, so Iā??ll write about that colossal waste of time later today or tomorrow.

Apr 11, 13:24 (Filed under: Personal )

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  1. Perhaps the cesky abbreviation for financial office is more appropriate. STatniFinancniUrad, mozna?

    I had a similar feeling to yours on Friday – I was all ready to start the day with a run, save that I woke up at 4AM feeling crap, and have done so every night since (feeling it almost the whole of each day as well) save last night. I was asleep at 4, but only because I didn’t fall asleep until 3. And was still feeling crap when I woke up at 6.


    Bishop    Apr 11, 15:56    #