This is the time of the year when we have to go to Centrelink to let them know we are still alive. Well, both Peter and I, are old age pensioners. We get the Australian pension plus a small monthly pension from Germany which is so small that it doesn’t affect our Australian pension.
As I said we have to present ourselves at the Centrelink office with a form that has been sent to us from Germany. Peter filled out both our forms (I only had to sign). With both these forms and our passports for identification we arrived at Centrelink. A woman very politely took all the details from Peter and then pointed to a row of seats telling Peter to wait there till his name was called.
I felt I was completely invisible but didn’t feel the need to draw some attention to me. Well, she had advised Peter. And that was it. All I had to do was follow him and sit down beside him. After a while someone called “Peter” (no surname). I doubted Peter had been able to hear this call. (He has again a bit of trouble with his hearing aid) I told him a “Peter” had been called and that it may be him. Peter got up and a woman asked him to come over to a certain counter. I followed.
In the past we had always been called to a table with seating provided for the two of us and the office person sitting opposite us and taking notice of both of us. So this time we just stood at a counter. But then it didn’t take very long at all to get the required certification and stamp. Peter handed over the papers, the Centrelink office worker very efficiently took care of these, soon handing them back to Peter. She didn’t say one word to me. I contemplated why on earth should she take notice of me?
I wondered whether she even had noticed that I was there. When I talked about this to Peter later on, Peter assured me that she must have seen me. How else could she have certified that I was still alive?