The waiting room of the Côte D’Or préfecture de police has but one open seat.It’s beside a mustached older man in a knit cap holding a green passport.Around the intimate space of plastic chairs arranged to allow for the minimum amount of leg room, I see other green passports along with various shades of red.Mine appears to be the only blue.  I don’t get the sense that any one member of this colorful international coalition desperately wants to obtain the brown passport emblazoned with the words République française.But this is what has brought us together.

We are not expectant, we’re resigned.Whether we think procuring the right to stay in this country is just a matter of procedure or whether we assume it’s almost pointless to try, we wait for our number to be called.I’ve torn “46” from the machine at the door.I sit down with it and my own renewed doubt about my prospects here today.

Nobody could argue when I say that the French national pastime is going on strike.It is the punchline of many a joke and has become cliché for a reason.Everybody does it and often: teachers, students, civil servants, daycare centers, air traffic controlers, train conductors, bikers…even the unemployed went on strike recently.When I first moved to France and saw that dental students were on strike, I was surprised to learn that there were dental schools here [Sorry, low blow].