2015 July 11. US Department of Forms.
You perhaps remember that during Aeolian Day we had an extended and troubling visit from a postal inspector who, after thoroughly inspecting the EPS set-up and requiring official EPS cartwheels, had Mailman Miek fill out an application for a "Mobile Stamp Window." This happened. A few days later, Miek received a letter from the US Department of Forms. It included: a form.
Now, Mailman Miek is a busy person, with busyness. Naturally he turned to a friend, Billy, for help. We don't know a lot about Billy. He is from El Segundo. That seems to be important to him, so it is important to us.
Billy did his best to fill out the form properly, but the deadline was looming, then went right past us, and started fading from view. Billy wrapped it up, put the application in an envelope and mailed it out with -2 days to spare.
General free-form anxiety accompanied us on the run-up to the appointed date. Upon arrival, we were greeted by both a welcoming sign and an unpaid intern. A large portion of the conversation centered around the content of his name tag, which proudly declared that he had enough sick leave to take off the next month+ but clearly will not.
The intern had us all back up against the wall for photos that would most likely be stapled to a form. Then we were led to the conference room after a brief pitstop at the hallway water cooler to fill up on delicious cold water snuggled up inside safe, lidded beverage cups. US Department of Forms President Hannah Jackson welcomed us and our cleverly constrained water, then started a brief film introducing us to the US Department of Forms. During one particular segment, all in attendance secretly coveted the marvellously chunky form-assisting machinery of a bygone age. Or maybe that's a water cooler. Hard to say.
The film ended, and Jackson indicated that we would be filling out a "Welcome Form" and that there was also an optional "Change Of Action Form" available. Drake Francisco immediately went for the radical "Change of Action" form while the rest of us quietly accepted the understated elegance of the non-wave making "Welcome Form."
Jackson indicated that processing our forms would take a short amount of time, giving Drake Francisco some stolen moments to enjoy what appeared to be a printout of an internet-based image search on the word "goat." This was not a form provided by the US Department of Forms.
We each then received our thoroughly processed form in its own convenient carrying baggie.
Next, Jackson presented an enthusiastic speaker, Beth, who came prepared with her own Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Music Player w/Microphone. This was secretly coveted by Mailman Miek, who was cooking up some ideas about what Phil 5.0 should look like. Beth's ringing endorsement of the US Department of Forms generously amplified by child-based electronics described a world in which she was someone who colored outside the lines. The US Department of Forms taught her that this was an incorrect mode of thinking, of being. Beth was very thankful to the US Department of Forms for her now form-based life. Form.
After Beth's stirring speech, Jackson got to the heart of the matter: the US Department of Forms needed to know where to find Elsewhere. They needed to know about Elsewhere to "become and learn to be more fluid" in their procedures. If we could convey this information to her, we would receive our mobile stamp window permit.
We hemmed, and we hawed. We were hawing. It is difficult to explain, we said. We weren't sure that we wanted to reveal this information, we said. But slowly, methodically ... almost form-like ... Jackson broke us down by offering the uncomfortable whitespace of silence.
Finally, Mailman Ted explained that Elsewhere is neither here nor there while properly-lidded drinks quiescently sat listening nearby.
Running with this opposing duality theme, the rest of us chimed in with our various descriptions of Elsewhere. It is small, and large. It is not accessible ... formless, yet everywhere. It is populated by wagons. It is populated by goats pulling wagons. Goats pulling wagons or carts. Jackson dutifully recorded all of these bullet points on a nearby whiteboard.
Thankfully, at some point, Jackson felt that she had received enough Elsewhere intel from us, and indicated that we were to receive our mobile stamp window operating permit. We were over the moon. I am not sure what happened with the latex gloves. Why gloves.
In addition to receiving the permit, each of us received a short commendation from Jackson and a shiny laminated US Department of Forms "licensed and sanctioned" identification card. Nobody is wearing gloves in this shot. First no gloves, then gloves, then no gloves.
To celebrate our triumphant permit acquisition, Mailman Ted took a selfie with US Department of Forms personnel.
After leaving the meeting room we exited onto the street, defiantly removed the lids from our cups, and hitched a ride on some goat carts.