What do They know about me?

Typically, I’ve started getting a steady stream of work coming in. This means that my career as a freelance writer is finally taking off properly just as I’ve decided to go and be an English teacher for a year! But I won’t complain. It’s still not great pay, but it’s going to give me a little bit of cash in reserve when I arrive in Korea.

Of course, it means I’ve hardly been out of the house, since I’m working very long hours. I suppose I really need to start getting out and socialising, since people might be slightly miffed to discover I’d taken off again without seeing them even once.

I did go to see MonkeyMrs tonight, as she’s just returned from Ethiopia and was therefore able to entice me out of hiding with fresh Ethiopian coffee beans (nothing short of spectacular, by the way). We were exchanging travel tales and catching up when MonkeyMan arrived in.

Yeah, so I think it might be strange at first, I continued after greeting him. Eating with chopsticks and, well, not being Korean and everything. But I have now learned the Korean alphabet!

MonkeyMrs nodded enthusiastically. MonkeyMan just looked decidedly confused. Erm, hang on… what? he asked uncertainly. Are you moving to Korea? Going to a Korean restaurant?

I think, generally, you’d probably be expecting the answer to be closer to the second option. It was quite good fun to be able to casually reply with the more exciting one!

I have started the process of applying for sealed transcripts of my university marks and suchlike, and tonight went to the police station to request a criminal background check. I must say I was suitably impressed by the nice policeman, who was very friendly and helpful and pleasant – very different from my only other time in a PSNI station, when I was trying in vain to get someone to care about poor Rio the Clio’s injuries. He made me forget that I’d been feeling slightly nervous, as I always do when I encounter authority figures, despite the fact that I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m always scared that I’ll be seized with an uncontrollable urge to to something bad (like the laughing at a funeral concept – you know it would be the worst possible thing to do, and you absolutely do not want to do it, so suddenly you feel yourself overwhelmed by the desire to), and then I’ll get thrown into jail. Plus I just have this vague fear that I really have done something terrible at some point and blocked it from my memory, and They know about it, and it’s “in the system”. Which would be awful, when you think about it.

I have a touch of the neurotic about me.

So how long will this take? I asked as he gave me back my documents and handed me my FOI Request receipt.

About 40 days, he replied, upsettingly. Seeing my alarmed expression, he hastened to reassure me. Do you actually have a record? he asked, shaking his head with a smile as if he knew the question to be ridiculous as I was clearly a lovely, good, pure, innocent and well-behaved young lady. I shook my head meekly. Not so much as a traffic offence, I said demurely, wondering for the first time how on earth that is still true after three and a half years of Really Bad Driving. He promised me that it should only take a couple of weeks for someone as perfect as myself, and I nodded in relief.

Moving to Korea, I see? he added. I nodded again.

Nice policeman sighed wistfully, looking at the two hoodie-wearing teenagers sitting sulkily glaring at him from behind me, and the woman who’d just walked in wearing a woolly hat and scarf, in the middle of July.

I don’t blame you, he said sadly.


5 thoughts on “What do They know about me?

  1. Becs says:

    40days for an FOI request??? Noooo it should be 20 working days? Thats the law as far as I know. Unless the PSNI have special dispensation but I dont think they have. I think the 20 day rule applies to everyone.

  2. Takes a while I guess. It’s probably being checked against the NAFIS hosted in another country (see I know stuff). Well I think you’re very brave. I used to go next door and teach my Korean neighbour conversational English, she was lovely and brought me little rice cakes and served tea with Mandarins and pine nuts. Whatever you do, say no to the pickled cabbage, it’ll blow your head off! Hey, not so far from OZ?

  3. Well, an FOI request would be 20 working days, but this is personal data, so would be an Data Protection Subject Access Request rather than FOI, and they’re allowed 40 calendar days for that.

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