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On losing an ID card and then losing it, period.
CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-TWO
Those of us who've suffered or suffer still from any form of non-psychotic mental illness, be it depressive, addictive, obsessive or compulsive, quickly learn to recognise the first symptom of an imminent onset: an utter, atom-bomb-thorough annihilation of the sense of self. The personality shuts down and leaves the brain undriven, a free-floating sponge whose open pores allow your depression, addiction, obsession or compulsion to put in a prompt appearance, grinning proprietarily upon its return to what it regards as its rightful home.
I have become less and less prone to such fits over the years, so was surprised when, last Thursday, an apparently trivial event threw my brain as out of whack as had been its wont way back when: I lost my Spanish ID card, that obligatory plastic rectangle with the word 'Extranjero' plastered all over it in a bullying shade of red. All of a sudden I felt as witlessly vulnerable as a stray dog on a motorway, and spent an entire evening howling and blustering in frustration. It had been so hard getting that thing: hours of queuing in the street followed by hours of waiting in a room that smelt like it must have smelt back in the 1950s (when it was last furnished and painted), followed by countless conversations in my unfluent, Catalan-accented Spanish with functionaries who might have had BORN TO HINDER stamped on their foreheads in regulation ink. Now, however, having been bereft of ID for four full days, I feel fine, having noticed no disadvantages whatsoever. The hell with the law: when I finally join the paperless foreigners' queue again, it will be in both a panic-free state of mind and my own good time.