Off I go on Ben’s Yamaha 650 to get my biometrics er done. It is another glorious day and I zap through the streets of San Francisco full of happiness and joy. The biometrics house is on Broadway right down by the Bay. It goes like this:
” Good morning sir, how are you doing today?”
“Well that’s just fine. If you would just like to take a seat and fill in this form, this fine lady here will call out your number real soon.”
“Nice talking to you sir, you have a nice day.”
I fill in my form and sit with the other sheepish applicants who represent a lot of nationalities. It continues with fingerprinting and photography.
A grinning Chinese American lady greets me.
“Hey Neil, how are doing? Yep it’s happy Friday, happy for me that is ‘cos I’ taking Monday off and that gives me 3 day weekend.”
She rolls my fingertips carefully over a sensor and my beautiful fingerprints come up on a big screen in front of me.
“Well, Neil, you can’t get away with anything ever again. Yep, they sure know who you are now.”
“Well, I’m gonna spend the weekend with my kids, they’re 6 and 10, you know. That’s you done, Neil. If you have a moment, could fill in this appraisal form on how we all done this morning during your visit. Thank you and have a good one.”
US officials are so sweet.
I am back on the street feeling groovy so head straight for a collection of old boats that can be walked around.
On an old square-rigged ship, the Balclutha, which was built on the Clyde in 1880, there are groups of schoolgirls being shouted at by instructors. They are harsh, in an attempt to render real the tough life that sailors underwent. I thought the poor little girls were going to burst into tears.
A brief video: