The naturalization process was insanely long and complicated. Once Mr. Cupelli and I had accepted Ms. Chaste’s generous offer, I had to fill out an application for citizenship to the country in which I had lived my whole god damn life. I then received a letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stating that I was to come to an interview.
Before we go any further, I need to address a few things:
1. I understand that being a state employee must be insanely difficult. It can’t be easy to work at the DMV or the post office or unemployment. However…
2. It is not my fault that your hopes and dreams crashed and burned and now you give eye exams, listen to people whine about the wait and stare at a line that never ends or listen to a phone that never ceases to ring…so don’t take out your anger about your shitty life on me.
3. You sit in a climate controlled building all day, get an hour for lunch, sick and vacation pay, a sweet retirement package and paid holidays. Fucking blow me.
Anyway…the woman I interviewed with was less than cordial. She looked like she came out of the womb having a rough day. Her hair had been ironed too many times, lipstick applied not enough times and hands…well let’s just say I’d sooner take a massage from a cactus rather than a handshake from her.
We sat in a room that was eerily similar to pretty much every interrogation room I had been placed in over the course of my life. She flipped open my file and chewed on her fingernail as she skimmed my information.
“So,” she said, still skimming, “you are…Lauren…Sharkey?”
Side note: This is true of every interview I have ever been on – why does the interviewer always say your name in this manner? Like allegedly that’s your name? Does anyone ever say, “No. That’s not me – my real name is Jafar.”? Seriously…what the fuck.
“Yes ma’am,” I said, “that’s me.”
“And Ms. Sharkey, how is it that you remained an illegal immigrant in this country for over twenty years?” she asked, completely monotone.
“Oh, well, uh” I mumbled, “I’m not actually an illegal immigrant. You see, my adoption agency messed up my paperwork…I’m a citizen.”
“Ms. Sharkey,” she sighed, rolling her eyes, “this process will be a lot easier if you remain truthful and honest.”
“I am being honest.”
“Ms. Sharkey, if you were a citizen you wouldn’t be here. Now…answer the question.”
Jesus Christ, I thought, this is going to take a while…