An allergy to forms is one that afflicts many although medical science has yet to recognise this malaise and often aggravates rather than cures the condition. If you make it to a doctor or hospital still conscious it’s odds on you’ll be filling out a form. No research investigating this ailment has been published in any medical journal. Pharmaceutical companies, uncharacteristically slow, have yet to formulate a drug to treat it.
I am a long-term victim of this allergy. I think it’s the boxes that do it – they are either too big, too small, too many or too few. Often my answers don’t fit. It starts with my address, which doesn’t fill up all the boxes provided. But Maungaturoto often overflows the space allocated for town. What is my city? There is no box for province. Where does Northland go? Whoever designed these forms lives in town and has never visited the country.
Designers of forms (formulators?) must, I’m sure, be exceptionally dull people and they have presumed that the lives of others are as easily boxed and packaged as their own. When filling out a form I am bedevilled with the thought that it is all such a ludicrous and tedious waste of time. I feel pity for the poor sod that has to read and process it. Perhaps these days they are all sorted and read by computer? Sadly I am not a sufficiently skilled geek to simply give the forms to my laptop and have it fill them out for me. If consenting machines wish to send each other forms to fill in I am happy for them to do so. I expect machines enjoy that sort of thing, but I am a human being and have other things to do.
My niece lives in Australia and pesters me to come over and visit but my passport expired over a decade ago. I decided to renew it but the new passport application form is monstrous. I was too scared to even open it. I’ve read shorter novels and I know from bitter experience how horrible it will be. By page nine I will be experiencing high degrees of hypoallergenic discomfort. By page 11, to continue would be to risk a brain haemorrhage. I placed the form in the already-filled-to-bursting folder labelled ‘To do later’ and immediately felt much better. I now realise why the cost is a staggering $134. I expect it costs around $2 for the stationary and $132 to pay someone to read it.
The old MOT has had more incarnations than the Dalai Lama. Currently called the New Zealand Transport Agency, I am unsure which title it held when it decided that simply registering a vehicle for road use was not sufficient and that vehicle owners must also fill out forms to not register their vehicle. As absurd as this is, like most others, I have grudgingly gone along with it. Until recently I filled out the ‘exemption’ form for a former vehicle, which was then doing service as a dry storage area and part-time dog kennel. They tried to charge me $5.60 for filling out the form.
“First they waste my time with unnecessary forms which I hate. Now they’re trying to charge me for wasting it.”
The long-suffering lady at the counter, who is not to blame, listened patiently.
“I’ll drop the plates in tomorrow,” I said.
“That will cost you nine dollars,” she replied.
Those who are to blame show sense enough to stay well hidden in a building in Palmerston North far from the general public. I have written, informing them that I no longer require their services, whatever these may be. They have not got back to me. This is the best possible outcome and I am hoping it will last but suspect it will not.
If a person is allergic to privet (and I’m told this is a common thing) the best remedy is to either cut down the offending growth or move to a privet-free environment. Now that I am aware of my allergy to form filling – and it seems to all types of bureaucratic time wasting – I have decided to do everyone a favour, especially myself: I will no longer fill out forms. I am not certain that ‘the form is the foremost tool of fascism’ but I am not prepared to risk it and am declaring myself Form Free.
I have spoken to several old people (as well as being currently in the process of becoming one) and we agree that once upon a time we lived in a functional country that got along reasonably well without most of this rubbish. Rutherford split the atom but did not have a dangerous goods licence. Hillary conquered Everest despite never having attended an OSH seminar. So I am not participating in this silliness any more – there are better things to do.
When filling out a form I am bedevilled with the thought that it is all such a ludicrous and tedious waste of time.