Monday, April 20, 2009

Adventures at the Social Security Office

Several years ago, a certain man, lost WC’s social security card but since we had the number I had not replaced it. However, I recently discovered we would need the document in order to register WC for kindergarten this fall. On Friday after the photography session I left the boys at home with mom and ventured to my local social security administration office. I had obsessed for days over the documents required to prove who he is. A birth certificate is not accepted yet a shot, daycare or baptism record is. Seriously, a baptism record, I used to write those things when I was receptionist of a church when I was like 20-not difficult to come by. And that is considered identification over birth certificate? The shot record the doctor gave me for kindergarten only had his name- nothing else. So I asked his preschool provider for his enrollment record from there. One catch- it has to be the original no photocopies accepted! And she couldn’t remove the original from the folder. Of course. But she was kind enough to re-write me an enrollment record. Off I go original documents in hand.
The air inside the social security office was stagnant and it smelled of body odor. The waiting area filled with the stereotypical who’s who of the carnie sideshow circuit and folks who can recall when Methuselah was an infant. An elderly gentleman with enormous glasses who still stared at everyone through a magnifying glass he held out in front of him scared the Dejesus out of a young (19-20) year old girl who came in by inquiring (in a volume with which you speak to friends during a rock concert) what number she pulled. She stared at him wide eyed & appeared afraid he would try to take it from her if it was better than his. His wife sat next to him engrossed in a large print copy of Readers Digest and seemed resigned to just ignore the man she’d married to for the past 6,000 years while he screamed at everyone to sign in at the computer. I settled into my seat and absorbed myself in a riveting game of Tetris on my cell phone. I’d probably been playing about twenty minutes when a woman came through the door from the back and screamed at me “Put that cell phone away. You cannot have that in here.” The phrase that was on the back of my tongue instantly was, “B%#$# don’t yell at me.” But something inside me said, be quiet this might be the person you have to deal with when you go back. So I hit the end button on my game and slid my phone into my purse without a word. I didn’t even look at her.
Luckily, it didn’t take long for another form of entertainment to appear in the form of a pissed off man. In this office there were two windows open with people helping and then an area of cubicles behind a door. I’m not sure if each is assigned to a certain issue or what. But this man was reaming the girl behind the window out. And in doing so, telling everyone in the waiting area his business. I know which of his relatives have congestive heart failure and that he was in Nevada last week, he has started businesses of his own before, etc. I also know that he was told over the phone by one person his check was mailed out, another told him it would be an electronic deposit and he hadn’t received any money at all and wanted to know where it was. The whole time telling her that it wasn’t personally against her yet he’s screaming at her. I honestly think I’d take a job shoveling animal dung before I’d go to the ss office and deal with this. So angry guy trudges on over to the waiting area because he’s waiting on someone new to yell at and a woman in the waiting area tells him to settle down. Now, I don’t believe they knew each other. And he retorts back to her, “excuse me…you don’t know nothing.” At this point everyone in the waiting area is staring at their own shoes. Angry man drinks from the water fountain & for some reason goes and sits down next to the woman. She leans towards him, touches his arm (I’m flabbergasted at this point) and begins a story, “Now, when my daddy died…” her voice dropped to where I couldn’t hear. But angry man just sits, listening and nods occasionally.
Finally, my number is called. The angels sing the hallelujah chorus and I get up- sure enough it’s the woman who yelled at me. We exchange pleasantries while walking back to her desk. I explain that I need to replace my sons lost ss card to enroll him for kindergarten. She takes my already filled out forms, notes I have the green shot record- then doesn’t even look at it, doesn’t look at the daycare record. She takes my licensed, types into her computer a little while, has me sign a form, then hands me my receipt and says the card will arrive in about 10 business days! I take my receipt and get out of dodge. Now, if I hadn’t obsessed over the documentation then I would have had issues. I’m also grateful for holding my tongue. I doubt the process would have been that easy. Now we’ll just see if the card does arrive in ten days. Pre-Registration for kindergarten is May 11-15th.

1 comment:

Michele said...

This is why, when I got married, I mailed the crap to the SS office. There was no way in hell I was going in there by myself. I mailed my license, my old SS card, and a copy of my DL, and 2 weeks later, new card in hand. Now, seeing as this was a decade ago, I know it couldnt be that easy now, but OMG... I cant even imagine going to the SS office! What you wrote is what my imagination has in it!!

Just a side note, I'd make someone special pay dearly for that... Mother's Day is coming up and perhaps a very extra special meal is in order. :)